Category Archive: Bible – OT – Exodus
Duane Garrett, in his commentary on Exodus, speaks of the new Pharaoh who did not acknowledge Joseph and who oppressed Israel, and says, “There is no indication of how long was the time between the death of Joseph and the ascension of this Pharaoh.”
Well, no indication in Exodus 1:8-10 itself. That’s true. But it’s not hard to ballpark it based on what the rest of Scripture tells us, right?
There were 430 years from Abraham to the Exodus (Gal 3:17), and 215 years from Abraham to the time when Jacob and his offspring went down to Egypt. Joseph was 39 or 40 when that happened, and he lived another 70 years, dying when he was 110. So that’s 285 years into the 430, leaving 145 left to go.
Moses was born 80 years before the Exodus, during the period when this Pharaoh’s oppression had reached the point where he was having all the baby boys killed.
When did this new Pharaoh come on the scene? Sometime between Joseph’s death and Moses’ birth, somewhere between 80 to 145 years before the Exodus.
Given that there had to be some time for Israel to fall from faithfulness and start worshiping other gods and for the Egyptians to apostatize and turn against Israel and no longer honor them as they had while Joseph was alive, it seems more likely that the new Pharaoh came on the scene a generation or so after Joseph died and about 100 years before the Exodus.
Garrett is correct that Scripture does not give an exact indication how long the time was between Joseph’s death and the rise of this Pharaoh. But we can make a pretty good guess and we can definitely pin down the range of possibilities.
Last night in our Bible study, we were talking about the plagues on Egypt leading up to the Exodus.
The first nine plagues appear to come in three cycles.Â Â In each cycle, the first plague is announced to Pharaoh early in the morning, usuallyÂ by the water.Â The second is also announced to Pharaoh beforehand.Â The third happens with no warning at all.
In the first cycle, there’s an emphasis on the Egyptian sorcerers and at the end of that cycle they are admitting their inability: “This is the finger of God.”Â The second cycle seems to emphasize the distinction between Egypt and Israel.Â The third … well, that’s harder to see at first.
But what jumped out at me last night is that all three of those plagues may have something to do with darkness.Â The ninth plague, of course, is darkness.Â In the eighth plague, the land is darkened because of all the locusts.Â But where’s the darkness in the seventh plague?Â It doesn’t show up in English translations.Â But it did show up in the margin of my NKJV.
In Exodus 9:32, it says “the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they are late crops.”Â But the word for late, the margin suggested, means “darkened.”Â That may be true, given that the root of the word is used for darkness in Isa. 29:18 and Amos 5:20.
And yet … I note that it isn’t the same word used in Exodus 10 for darkness, nor is it obvious to me how the “darkness” (= lateness) of the wheat and spelt would be related to judgment since these were the plants that weren’t destroyed by the hail.Â So it just goes to show you that what jumps out at you, even if it is in the NKJV margin, isn’t always really there.
It is interesting, though,Â that a word related to darkness shows up in connection with these three plagues.Â And I suppose that if there was thunder and hail there were likely clouds, which would have brought darkness.Â So maybe there’s something there.Â But if there is, it isn’t as clear as I thought last night, looking at that marginal note.Â Alas.
Any thoughts on the structure of these ten plagues?