The Tenth Plague
Author: John Prytz
Matthew 10:34 (King James Version) says “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” If that’s God’s son saying that, then what must God’s foreign policy be? Well, nowhere is God’s foreign policy more evident than that related in the Book of Exodus and forcing Egypt’s supreme ruler, the pharaoh, to “Let My People Go”. To accomplish that diplomatic trick, God inflicts those ten plagues on pharaoh’s helpless Egyptian people. Now while the first nine plagues might have natural causes, there is no way the last plague, the slaughter of the Egyptian firstborn (and their animals’ firstborn), can be put down to natural happenings. God is judge, jury and executioner. Our loving, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, etc. supreme deity, the Almighty, shows His true colours, no ifs, ands or buts about it. . I’d wager that any competent criminal psychologist or psychiatrist would conclude that God derives much sensual pleasure and satisfaction from mass murder and He always looks forward to the next time, since God’s done it often enough. However, let’s just examine that one specific case history, the tenth plague that was inflicted on ancient Egypt in the Biblical Book of Exodus. The basic story is that God will go forth among the Egyptian peoples (who have done Him no wrong), and their livestock (who have certainly not sinned) and execute all those who were unfortunate to have been the firstborn (including livestock), except for any and all of whoever of His Chosen People (the Israelites) that leave out a sign that they should be passed over. Here are the relevant chapters and verses, and some points of contention relating to them. *Exodus 3:20 – And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egyptwith all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. *Exodus 11:4 – And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt. *Exodus 11:5 – And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
*Exodus 11:7 – But against any of the children ofIsrael shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians andIsrael. *Exodus 12:12 – For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
*Exodus 12:29 – And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
*Exodus 13:15 – And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast.
Point One: There’s one immediate problem with this ‘firstborn’ extermination. What if prior to that smiting, your firstborn had already died? I mean way back then infant mortality in particular, and mortality rates in general would have been at higher rates for lower age groups, like for the infants, those of childhood ages, even young adults. God cannot smite your firstborn if your firstborn was already dead! Those authors who penned this nonsense should have taken a course in Logic 101. Point Two: That minor point aside, but as hinted immediately above, firstborn doesn’t just include babies, infants, toddlers, and children. Teenagers and adults, even those middle-aged and the elderly might be a firstborn. Nowhere in Exodus does it associate firstborn with a child or children! In fact, the odds are high that the pharaoh himself was a firstborn since succession of rulers tends to be the firstborn son of the previous pharaoh. I’m 64 years old, and I am a firstborn. Just as well I wasn’t an Egyptian citizen way back then! Take a typical family, say one with five kids. One of those kids will be a firstborn. If the entire Egyptian nation is composed of a one in five ratio of firstborn to later born; and if that one in five is the firstborn that God smites, well that’s a percentage of, well, 20% (give or take). Exterminate one fifth of any nation and I’ll guarantee the person(s) responsible won’t be an object of worship. Even Hitler didn’t exterminate 20% of those residing in Germany and those countries he invaded. Point Three: So if any modern leader, president, prime minister, chancellor, emperor, king or queen, dictated that all of the firstborn of his or her country were to be executed forthwith, can you imagine the outcry? Even if the resulting death toll would have been ‘only’ 15% or 10% or 5% that would have been the least of his/her worries. Such a person would exceed being on a par with the worst of the worst of terrestrial tyrants – from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot back to Genghis Khan or Attila the Hun. The nations of the world would unite quick-smart to act against such a person. Yet because this is God doing the smiting, well that’s okay. Except, in the Old American West He would have likely been lynched by a mob from the highest branch of the tallest oak tree or else tarred and feathered, and drawn and quartered if not buried alive in an ant hill. Point Four: What’s God got against the beasts like cattle? Add animal cruelty to God’s sins. Point Five: It certainly wasn’t the Egyptian people that were responsible for pissing off God, just the political powers-that-be (that unnamed pharaoh). Most certainly the Egyptian beasts of burden weren’t responsible, yet it’s the firstborn of people and beasts that were smitten – that’s the act of a psychopath. Point Six: A far more rational God, a far less sadistic deity, could have caused a hell of a lot less death and suffering of the innocents by just torturing pharaoh into His objective “Let My People Go”. It would have been easier all around. God used a sledgehammer to crack a peanut. God’s an idiot, which would be funny except you wouldn’t expect the Egyptians to be laughing! Point Seven: God also executed judgment against the gods of Egypt (Exodus 12:12). Sorry, but my reading of that little announcement suggests, indeed demands, that there is such a thing as the gods of Egypt, since you can’t pass judgment against something that doesn’t exist! Therefore, God, by his very act, acknowledges the reality of polytheism. Perhaps the gods of Egypt should cast judgment of the God of Israel! Would any impartial jury rule for the God of Israel, or the gods of Egypt? Methinks it’s an open and shut case. God is the murderer, not anyone else, not gods, rulers, commoners or the beasts of Egypt can or should be held accountable. Point Eight: The mass murder of numerous Egyptian citizens is actually ‘celebrated’ by various cultures in something called the Passover. The origins of Passover reside in this ‘historical’ firstborn execution, in that God’s Chosen People, the Israelites that were in Egypt at the time, were passed over when it came to smiting the firstborn. So, for all of you out there in reader-land, if you celebrate Passover, you’re celebrating mass murder by your almighty deity. Least there be any doubt about this, interested readers are invited to check out Exodus chapter 12 for God’s instructions leading up to verse 11 which notes the “Passover” and verse 12 which notes that God will “pass though the land of Egypt” doing His imitation of Charles Manson but sparing those who took heed of the introductory verses of Exodus 12. It’s made crystal clear shortly after, and we notice how the people then worshiped the Biblical Charles Manson. Actually that’s unfair to Charles for he didn’t come close to God’s numbers, not by a long shot. *Exodus 12:27 – That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children ofIsrael inEgypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. Point Nine: Obviously God is very, very proud of His mass murder as the Bible (God’s word) refers to it again and again. *Numbers 3:13 – Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the LORD.
*Numbers 8:17 – For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.
*Numbers 33:4 – For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.
*Psalm 78:51 – And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham.
*Psalm 135:8 – Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.
*Psalm 136:10 – To him that smoteEgypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever. Point Ten: Note the use of the words “smote” and “mercy” in the same sentence. Wow! Point Eleven: The tenth plague is not an isolated one-off incident. There are numerous other instances from the Bible that equally point out God as being the Jack the Ripper or Charles Manson or any other modern mass murderer, sadistic, serial killer you care to cite as that personified in the Old Testament. For example, please consult Deuteronomy 20:10-17. If all that’s not enough to convince you, there’s always Ezekiel. The following chapter and verses should convince you that the tenth plague was not an isolated incident. Ezekiel 12:20; 25:17; 28:23; 30:26; 32:15; 33:29; 35:4; and 35:9. Point Twelve: If you in fact looked at those eight Ezekiel chapter and verses, you’ll have noted a certain phrase repeated over again and again. We note the everlasting phrase “I am the LORD”. Just to make sure you don’t forget it, that phrase is repeated 162 times in the Bible (King James Version). I personally think that’s a bit on the side of overkill. Can you imagine an American president again and again reminding Americans who is top dog and boss by thundering out “I am the PRESIDENT”! Such constant reminders might be suggestive that the utterances come from one who is really a tad insecure in the position. Point Thirteen: Speaking of the president, the modern relevance of this little exercise is that yet, in modern America, the 21st Century, you have had presidential candidates (unnamed, but you know who they are), who would be happy to end the separation of church and state and who would govern from the White House according to the texts of the Bible. Governing according to the Bible would mean carrying out God’s version of foreign policy, which is, according to the Bible, something akin to a policy that tends to shoot first, shoot often, shoot to kill and don’t worry about asking all those awkward later questions as dead men tell no tales; the hell with all those later questions, full stop. The President and Commander-in-Chief would be playing the role of God and that would have to include being willing to carry out all the sort of God-performed and God-endorsed atrocities of the Old Testament, like that tenth plague. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. My reading of this is America, be afraid, be very afraid, for even if it doesn’t come to pass in 2012, there’s always 2016, or four years later, or four years after that. Sooner or later, ‘God’ in the persona of POTUS (President of theUnited States) will be elected. P.S. The closest America came to having ‘God’ in the White House was Christian fundamentalist and thrice Presidential candidate (and triple loser) William Jennings Bryan. Bryan has totally against the theory of evolution and the teaching of that theory in American schools and universities. His main claim to fame is that he was the guest prosecutor in the 1925 Scopes Trial, or the so-called Monkey Trial”. Teacher John T. Scopes was accused of teaching Darwinian evolution to his students in violation of Tennessean state law. When Bryan himself was placed on the stand by the defence attorney, the famed Clarence Darrow, as an expert in all things Biblical, well the verdict was that Darrow made a ‘monkey’ out of Bryan. Bryan died just five days after the trial ended. Though Scopes was found guilty, the verdict was later overturned on a technicality.