Exodus 7:25–8:15 (ESV)
1. The Theology of Frogs
25 Seven full days passed after the Lord had struck the Nile.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs. 3 The Nile shall swarm with frogs that shall come up into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. 4 The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your servants.” ’ ” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the canals and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt!’ ” 6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. 7 But the magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
Seven days have passed
Here comes the frogs. How many here like frogs? I’m sure all the boys and some of the girls probably. I like frogs. I like to listen to them at night. I like to watch them jump into the water and swim out then bring their eyes up out of the water to watch what you’re doing in their pond. However, when I say I like frogs I’m thinking of one or two, not a thousand in your house. Now they’re not in their pond but my house…now I don’t like them at all.
For the Egyptians, frogs were loved, even worshipped. They liked to hear them at night as well. To them the frogs were a symbol of a good harvest; a good year with much produce. When the Nile River flooded about mid-September which was very good for their farming and then receded in December it would leave pools of water. These small ponds would soon be inhabited by frogs. Their croaking was the song of a promised good harvest that year.
To the Egyptians, the gods of the Nile were blessing them with fertile land. To them the frog was sort of a theophany; a visible picture of one of the gods. So, the frog became this symbol of worship. In Egyptian culture frogs were found on all types of jewelry. They wore these symbols as good luck and as a way of honoring the god of the Nile.
As we learned last time, these gods they worshipped and placed their trust in would be shown for what they truly are, false gods fueled by demonic powers.
As God promised, frogs were everywhere. Here is one scholar’s assessment of how the Egyptian’s view of frogs changed from a welcomed and pleasant reminder of a fruitful harvest to a menace to loathed…
Small green peepers, no larger than locusts, distilled toads, the color of excrement, mottled frogs like bloated vegetation, frogs that were lumps of bronze, frogs with eyes of unblinking demons, frog subtler than salamanders, frog motionless, frogs that leaped into the laps of screaming children, wart-breeding frogs, frogs like droppings of mud, frogs trailing their slime after them, flying frogs that built nests in high reeds, frogs that died and bred death. Once again, the sacred Nile was the source of pollution. —Moses p. 184
God is demonstrating His power over the demonic realm in which the Egyptians worshipped.
The use of frogs is a display of God’s sovereignty. It’s a surprising strategy. God takes something weak and small and wretched, and He uses it to foil the wise and strong of this world. We are told in verses 3 and 4 that the waters will swarm or teem with frogs. Now the very use of that language actually links this to Pharaoh’s attempt against the children of Israel, because in Exodus, chapter 1, verse 7, we are told that the children of Israel were swarming and teeming in the land of Egypt. And that is the very first instance that scared Pharaoh about them. And so, he determined to try and reduce their population. Well, the frogs are said here to swarm or teem in the land, the waters swarmed, with frogs.
Up until now I’ve not mentioned the name of this god. Actually, it was a she…a goddess name Hakt pronounced, Hequet. She had the head of a frog. Another piece of this plague is that because the Egyptians worship Hekt and because the frog was considered her embodiment, frogs were sacred and could not be killed. So, the Egyptians were forced to endure these frogs and not one could be killed. No frog legs during the plague. When they did die, at the hand of God, their cities and towns became a stinking maggotfest.
Hekt was powerless to control her frogs. She became very unpopular among the people of Egypt.
Here again the magicians and occult leaders could on some level copy or counterfeit God’s miracle. Whether this was actually real or not we are not sure. What’s important here and it’s here there their power begins to fade. They could not get rid of the frogs.
The Egyptian magicians spring into action, and they imitate the plague by their occult practices. And the net result is the increase in the misery of Egypt. And you can see Pharaoh saying, “Okay, that’s enough.” I mean, you begin to wonder if he’s instrumental in their not participating in any other of the plagues. Look guys, this is the second time. This is not working. They end up increasing the misery of the Egyptians. But the long and the short of it is you would never have thought of that plan.
The frogs were no respecter of persons. Pharoah’s palace was just as frog infested as the lowest socially. They were in his bed and in his kitchen as well.
2. Pharoah Asks Moses to Pray for Him
8 Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Plead with the Lord to take away the frogs from me and from my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.” 9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.” 10 And he said, “Tomorrow.” Moses said, “Be it as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs shall go away from you and your houses and your servants and your people. They shall be left only in the Nile.”
Who ever heard of a god needing prayer? By the time the frogs were showing up in the palace and in his bed, Pharoah was beginning to have his doubts about Hekt’s power to control her frogs and even his power as a god as well.
Pharoah also learned something about the occult that day. Even if the magicians could do the same thing, it made the situation worse.
7 But the magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
Rather than subtracting from the invasion of frogs, they could only add to it and make it worse. Okay, guys stop with the proving you can do it stuff…you’re making things worse not better. Prove your power by causing the frogs to disappear. Can you do that one? They could not.
Here is a picture of a lost person trying to cut a deal with God. God, if you can make my life better or remove this situation that’s misery to me, then I will go to church etc. When the misery is removed the deal is off.
That’s Pharoah. Fix this frog thing and I will let Your people go…
Pharoah is forced to work through Moses and Aaron because he did not know God himself.
Moses does something here that is very ingenious. He tells Pharoah to pick the time. When exactly do you want the frogs cut off? When would you like the frog assembly line turned off?
Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.”
Pharoah immediately says…tomorrow. By letting Pharoah choose the exact time, he was increasing the effect the miracle would have on him. More than anyone else, Pharoah knew this was, in fact, the power of God. He and the Egyptians were at the mercy of the real God and Pharoah knew this and yet his heart was hard.
3. Pharoah Did Not Keep His Promise
12 So Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the Lord about the frogs, as he had agreed with Pharaoh. 13 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses. The frogs died out in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields. 14 And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
Here is a god who lies. Pharoah is no god at all…he needed to barter, to crawl on his hands and knees begging, he needed prayer, he could not do a thing about the frogs, he was only a lost man. The goddess they worshipped was not a god either she was powerless. The magicians were no help. Only Yahweh had the power to do what needed to be done.
Here is a significant phrase, cried to the Lord is used at very crucial points in the book of Exodus. In Exodus, chapter 5, verse 15, the foremen cry out to God. It’s a time of great peril. When the Egyptian army is bearing down on the people of Israel at the Red Sea in Exodus, chapter 14, verse 10, the people cry out to God. Moses leaves Pharaoh’s presence and what does he do? He cries out to God in prayer? Why? What’s at stake here? Well, a great deal is at stake here. The revelation, the manifestation of the sovereignty of God, and that calls for Moses to implore the God of Israel, and he cries out to Him.
Exodus 5:15–18 (ESV)
15 Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? 16 No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.” 17 But he said, “You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Go now and work. No straw will be given you, but you must still deliver the same number of bricks.”
Exodus 14:10 (ESV)
10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord.
God listened to Moses. It was not Aaron who prayed to God but Moses. The next morning, the frogs on the land die and they stop coming up from the Nile. Their sacred frogs begin to stink. Can you imagine the smell in the houses and on the street? There was no where they could go to get away from the smell of dead frogs rotting.
Now let’s look to Pharoah’s response…
15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
Literally, the Hebrew for respite is room. Pharoah was no longer backed into a corner he had a little room. He had enough room to rebel against God. He hardened his heart and praised his own ingenuity. He thought now that he could use God to get what he wanted. I’m not letting the Israelites go.
The only thing that mattered to Pharoah is his comfort and his security. He wanted God to work for him, to make him comfortable.
Are we ever tempted to make God a means rather than the end He is?
I want us for a minute to look at something together.
Pharoah’s prayer, through Moses, was Lord take away the frogs. He only wanted God to take away the consequences of his disobedience. The frogs were because Pharoah would not listen to and obey God. He never acknowledged that the frogs were his fault.
Pharoah’s request is a clear example of how not to pray. This is a lost man’s prayer.
Listen as I read a song from John Newton 1779 called, Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare
Here’s a prayer of a believer. Notice there is not one request here for worldly comfort. As believers, pray for eternal things…
1 Come, my soul, thy suit prepare,
Jesus loves to answer pray’r.
He Himself has bid thee pray,
rise and ask without delay.
2 Thou art coming to a King,
large petitions with thee bring,
for his grace and pow’r are such,
none can ever ask too much.
3 With my burden I begin,
Lord, remove this load of sin!
Let Thy blood, for sinners spilt,
set my conscience free from guilt.
4 Lord! I come to Thee for rest,
take possession of my breast;
there Thy blood-bought right maintain,
and without a rival reign.
5 While I am a pilgrim here,
let Thy love my spirit cheer;
as my Guide, my Guard, my Friend,
lead me to my journey’s end.
6 Show me what I have to do;
ev’ry hour my strength renew;
let me live a life of faith;
let me die Thy people’s death.
This is a prayer that only a believer can pray.
Preaching the Word, Exodus by Ryken
Moses and the Gods of Egypt by John J. Davis
Exodus by T E Alexander
Exodus by L. Duncan