Was God Confronting Egyptian Gods During the Plagues?

When the LORD sent Moses to Pharaoh, it was time for a confrontation that would echo throughout history. The Israelites were to be released from slavery, but Pharaoh repeatedly hardened his heart. What followed was 10 plagues that devastated the Egyptian community and eventually caused Pharaoh to relent.

While I had heard that God was targeting certain Egyptian deities, I always wondered if that was true. In reality, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that possibility with the number of gods within the Egyptian pantheon. As I studied deeper, it did appear that God was picking gods and goddesses off individually.

Each plague showed Him superior to an Egyptian god that the culture boasted to control a certain element. With each subsequent plague, one less god remained.

At the end of the 10 plagues, the goal was for them to lift their eyes to the one true God.

#1 Nile

#1 Nile (Exodus 7:14-25) – God humiliated the god Hapi, credited for Egypt’s source of strength found in this river. 

#2 Frogs

#2 Frogs (Exodus 8:1-15) – The goddess Heqet could not remove the frogs, causing all to question whether she could help with fertility.  

#3 Gnats

Gnats (Exodus 8:16-19) – Gnats rose from the dust, which the earth god, Geb, was supposed to control.

#4 Flies

Flies (Exodus 8:20-32) – Khepri, the scarab beetle-faced god, supposedly responsible for creation, was helpless to slow the de-creation of Egypt. 

#5 Livestock

Livestock (Exodus 9:1-7) – Apis, the cow-faced god, was supposed to provide answers regarding the future, but the Egyptians could find none.

#6 Boils

Boils (Exodus 9:8-12) – Imhotep, the god of healing, could not cure the Egyptians of this intense sickness. 

#7 Hail

Hail (Exodus 9:13-35) – The goddess of weather, Tefenet, could not create or thwart a storm like the one targeting Egyptians.

#8 Locusts

Locusts (Exodus 10:1-20) – Locusts consumed all the vegetation, unable to be protected by Min, the god of the crops. 

#9 Darkness

Darkness (Exodus 10:21-29) – Amon-Re, the god of the sun, or his claimed son, Pharaoh, could not illuminate Egypt when the LORD turned out the lights. 

#10 Passover

Passover (Exodus 11:1-10) – Pharaoh, the firstborn of Egypt’s nobility, was rendered helpless to oppose God or protect his people.

In His grace, God removed all rivals and proved to be sovereign over all. Instead of believing in lies, they could finally behold the truth.

Did it work? Apparently, it did. Because when Pharaoh finally released the Israelites, some Egyptians actually went with them. They preferred to be with the true God in the wilderness than the counterfeit ones in their homes.

A mixed crowd went up with them…

Exodus 12:38