THE LIFE OF MOSES – LESSON 15
THE FIFTH PLAGUE – UPON THE CATTLE
The LORD now sends a fifth plague upon Egypt. This one affects their livestock, all the cattle, horses, donkeys, and camels. In Exodus 9:3 a serious disease called a grievous murrain killed all the cattle.
Murrain is a term for any number of various deadly diseases that specifically target cattle. Verse 6 tells us that all the cattle of Egypt died, but not one of the Hebrew’s cows or bulls died. This again verifies the work of the Hebrew God Jehovah, but Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened.
This defamed two particular Egyptian gods. One was Hathor, an Egyptian goddess of love and protection. She had the head of a cow.
Far more importantly, it defamed the god Ptah. This is the god that they believed gave life to everything at the beginning of everything. Supposedly this god was the one who created all the other gods, thus making him the god above all gods.
Ptah was represented by a bull. The Egyptians would take a real bull called the Apis Bull to be considered as a physical part of Ptah. This bull lived in the temple built for Ptah. When this bull died it was embalmed and given the same royal burial as give to Pharaoh. A new young calf was then selected to take its place as the Apis Bull to be worshipped.
The Hebrews knew that the Apis Bull was the highest god of the Egyptians. They had learned such from living in Egypt 430 years. This is why when Moses and Joshua were gone 40 days on Mount Sinai that they leaned on Aaron to make them a molten gold image of this god to worship. He made them an Apis Bull (golden calf) to worship. That is what angered Moses so much that he smashed the stone tablets of the ten commandments that God had written with His own finger.
Even though this fifth plague had defamed the Apis Bull, Ptah, the unbelieving Hebrews still turned to that which was familiar to them.
Do we sometimes turn in stress to some familiar thing or habit even though we know it is not good for us?
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