The Ten Plagues of Egypt

What Happened

God sends Moses to Egypt to free all of Israel from their bondage. Pharaoh ignores God and refuses to free the Israelites. The final plague now call the Passover finally forces Pharaoh to free the Israelites and they begin their exodus in the desert.

Why It Matters

Passover allows Israel to be free from bondage in Egypt and to begin their time in the desert, where every tribe will hear God’s law. Also, during their time in the wilderness, Moses, with God’s inspiration, writes the first five books of the Bible. These two events are the most important in history, becoming the moral definition for the human race.

Bible Verse

So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.

Exodus 11:4

Why it matters to you

Understanding Passover teaches us to put our trust and faith in God as Moses and the Israelites did.


12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will Passover you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”

Exodus 12: 12-13

Hebrew slaves Amram and Jochabed had a son. Because the Hebrews had grown in population and were considered a threat to Egyptian security, the Pharaoh ordered that all first born male children should be killed.

The parents took their baby boy and placed him in a basket. They sent him down the Nile where he was soon discovered by, of all people, Pharaoh’s daughter. It was love at first sight and she named him Moses, because he was pulled from the water.

The daughter took in the baby, but arranged to have his birth mother nurse him. The boy, Moses, grew up in Pharaoh’s court and had full rights and privileges. But he was a Hebrew and that identity was undeniable and a driving force in his life.

God had a plan for Moses

Moses decided to forsake the luxuries of his royal upbringing to be with his people. One day he saw an Egyptian solder abusing a Hebrew man. He stepped in and killed him. He fled Egypt into the desert. But God had a plan for him.

Moses met a wealthy man named Jethro and married one of his daughters. After a time, God called to Moses from a burning bush and told him to return to Egypt and free His captive people. Moses argued with God, but lost the argument and did as he was instructed.

Moses returns to Egypt to free his people

Moses returned to Egypt and Pharaoh, arguably the most powerful man on earth, was unimpressed with Moses’ and scuffled at the idea of freeing the slaves. Gods would begin to work on Pharaoh by bringing ten plagues to Egypt, but despite the devastating impact of each plague, each time Pharaoh’s heart would harden and his resolve would stiffen.

God tries to get Pharaoh to free Israel

To get Pharaoh’s attention, God started by turning the Nile waters into blood. The water was not fit to drink and the fish died. Then God sent frogs to cover not only the land, but every room in every house.

The third plague was an infestation of lice, that covered everything. Next came hoards of wild animals that created a path of destruction. Next came pestilence that killed most of the domestic animals in Egypt, but not those of the Israelites.

The Egyptians were the target of the next plague, when painful boils developed on the bodies of the Pharaoh, his servants and the citizens. God sent fiery hail down that hit and burned every crop and every tree.

After that the locusts came, eating every crop and the fruits of every tree. God then caused darkness to cover Egypt, a perpetual night, causing great inconvenience. But Pharaoh didn’t budge.

The Passover was the worst plague of all

The final plague was the worst of all, but Pharaoh won’t listen so God had no choice. The first born sons of Egypt would all die, as well as firstborn cattle. God told the Hebrews to take lamb’s blood and cover the door frames. When the angel of death came down on Egypt and saw the marking, he would “PASS OVER” the house, sparring all inside.

This first Passover was a monumental event that would change history forever. It would force Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, but it also foretold of the ultimate Passover, when the blood of the Lamb of God would be shed to cover the sins of the world… for our sins.

Passover is celebrated today as the Jewish Passover, and also celebrated by Christians in commemoration of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ at Easter.

Passover was an act of faith in God

It is an important event, because the act of killing the lamb and spreading its blood on the door posts is an act of faith. The people obeyed God, had faith that He would do as he said, and their lives were spared. Centuries later, on the Passover, Jesus would be sent to the cross. The two events are forever tied together and significant, because it shows the consistency of God’s unfolding plan.

What you may not know

Jesus was crucified during Israel’s celebration of Passover because Jesus’ blood and resurrection allows God to Passover our sins. If we follow Him in faith, just as Israel did during the first Passover in Egypt, we will receive His blessing.