Study the Torah with Academic Scholarship

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use

Plagues

The Plague of Dead Fish

Moses striking the Nile to kill the fish and make the water stink eventually developed into the plague of blood: a case of mythological amplification and its reverse.

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

,

,

Invoking Creation in the Story of the Ten Plagues

Demonstrating God’s Control of the World to the Israelites

Prof.

Ziony Zevit

,

,

Some Biblical Perspectives on the Haggadah

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

,

,

The Ethical Problem of Hardening Pharaoh's Heart

It seems unethical for God to deny Pharaoh free will and then punish him for his actions. Rashi, Nahmanides, and Maimonides all struggle with this problem, and each assumes that even Pharaoh deserves to be treated fairly.[1]

Prof. Rabbi

Shaul Magid

,

,

The Ten Plagues and Egyptian Ecology

Could the Story Have Its Basis in Natural Phenomena?[1]

Prof.

Ziony Zevit

,

,

Ancient Mapping: Israelite Versus Egyptian Orientation

God uses a qādîm “forward” wind to bring the locusts and blow back the sea – but what direction is qādîm? Did Israel and its neighbors answer this question the same way? Can ancient maps clarify this question?

Dr.

David Ben-Gad HaCohen

,

,

Reading the Plagues in their Ancient Egyptian Context

Prof.

Gary Rendsburg

,

,

The Death of Pharaoh's Firstborn: A One Plague Exodus

After commissioning Moses at the burning bush, God commissions Moses again in Midian, and then again on his way to Egypt. In this third commission, God instructs Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Let My son go, that he may worship Me, yet you refuse to let him go. Now I will slay your firstborn son” (Exod 4:22-23). How does this narrative fit into the exodus story?

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

,

,

The Missing Speeches in the Plague Narrative and the Samaritan Pentateuch

Before several plagues, God commands Moses to warn Pharaoh. Moses delivers this warning, but his actual words are not recorded. In the plague of locusts, the opposite occurs, and God’s wording is not recorded while Moses’ warning is. The SP fills in these lacunae by recording each instance.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

,

,

The Three Redactional and Theological Layers of the Plagues

The plague story expanded over time in three main stages: The oldest stage (E) has Moses perform 3 plagues on his own; this was revised to create a story of an all-powerful God performing 8 plagues (J), utilizing Moses as a mouthpiece. Finally, the Priestly redactor revised this into our familiar narrative of 10 plagues, in which God uses the miracles to announce himself to Egypt and the world.

Dr.

Tzemah Yoreh

,

,

YHWH's War Against the Egyptian Sun-God Ra

Reading the Plagues of Locust, Darkness, and Firstborn in their Ancient Egyptian Context

Prof.

Gary Rendsburg

,

,

Source Criticism: It's in the (Plague of) Blood

An Inductive Approach

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

,

,

The Torah's Exodus

Weighing the historicity of the exodus story entails more than addressing the lack of archaeological evidence.

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

,

,

Why Pharaoh Went to the Nile

Privy to Midrash and Egyptian Ritual Practice

Prof.

Scott B. Noegel

,

,

Taking Control of the Story: God Hardens Pharaoh's Heart

Exodus narrates three distinct conceptions of God’s relationship to Pharaoh’s stubbornness: God was surprised, God knew beforehand, and God was the direct cause. This essay focuses on the development of the final conception in the Priestly redaction of the Torah, and how and why the Priestly authors did not leave the destiny of the plagues to Pharaoh’s own heart.

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

,

,