Exodus 7–10: The Plagues

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 44–45


In Exodus 5, the Lord gave Pharaoh the opportunity to simply let the children of Israel go, but Pharaoh refused. Exodus 7 begins a series of confrontations Moses and Aaron had with Pharaoh. Moses and Aaron asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, declaring that if he did not, God would display His power by plaguing or causing problems for Egypt. As a result, the signs God sent are known as “the plagues of Egypt.” Exodus 7–10 records nine different plagues. A tenth plague will be discussed in Exodus 11–13.The fact that the Lord plagued Egypt so many times shows how merciful He is. Instead of immediately destroying Pharaoh and the Egyptians, He gave them many chances to acknowledge Him and His power. The Lord’s purpose is to have all of His children turn to Him. Only after nine impressive displays of the Lord’s power and Pharaoh completely hardening his heart did the Lord prepare the destructive tenth plague.To help you see this story as a whole, “Understanding the Scriptures” will help you with words and phrases by chapter, and “Studying the Scriptures” will combine all four chapters into one section.

Understanding the Scriptures

Exodus 7

Armies (v. 4)Divisions or groups of people 
Stretch forth mine hand (v. 5)Show my power 
Fourscore (v. 7)Eighty (one score is twenty) 
Sorcerers (v. 11)People who attempt to work magic with the help of evil spirits 
Enchantments (vv. 11, 22)The practice of sorcery 
Hitherto (v. 16)Up until now 
Lothe (v. 18)Hesitate 
Vessels (v. 19)Containers 

Exodus 7—How Could the Pharaoh’s Magicians Perform “Miracles”?

President Joseph Fielding Smith, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said:

“All down through the ages and in almost all countries, men have exercised great occult and mystical powers, even to the healing of the sick and the performing of miracles. Soothsayers, magicians, and astrologers were found in the courts of ancient kings. They had certain powers by which they divined and solved the monarch’s problems, dreams, etc. …

“… The Savior declared that Satan had the power to bind bodies of men and women and sorely afflict them [see Matthew 7:22–23; Luke 13:16]. … It should be remembered that Satan has great knowledge and thereby can exercise authority and to some extent control the elements, when some greater power does not intervene” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [1957], 1:176, 178).

Exodus 8

All thy borders (v. 2)The whole country 
Abundantly (v. 3)In great number 
Kneading-troughs (v. 3)Place to make bread 
Intreat (vv. 8–9, 28–30)Ask, beg 
Respite (v. 15)Relief 
Grievous (v. 24)Large, heavy 
Deceitfully (v. 29)Dishonestly 

Exodus 9

Pestilence (v. 15)Epidemic, plague 
Exaltest (v. 17)Lift up, be proud and stubborn 
Foundation (v. 18)Beginning 
Regarded not (v. 21)Paid no attention to, did not respect 
Abroad (vv. 29, 33)Out 

Exodus 10

Wrought (v. 2)Done 
Coast (vv. 4, 14, 19)Land, area 
Residue (v. 5)What is left 
Snare (v. 7)Problem, something to cause trouble for 
Herb (vv. 12, 15)Plant 
Rested (v. 14)Remained, stayed 
Dwellings (v. 23)Homes 
Be stayed (v. 24)Not go 
Until we come thither (v. 26)Until we get there 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Exodus 7–10.

Activity A iconWhy Did God Send Plagues?

Read Exodus 7:1–7; 9:16 and tell what the Lord said about why He would show signs and miracles.

Activity B iconFind the Plagues

Make a chart like the following and fill it in with information you find about each of the nine plagues.

Reference

Plague

What Moses and Aaron Did before the Plague

The Effect of the Plague on the Egyptians

The Effect of the Plague on the Israelites

How Pharaoh or His Servants Responded to the Plague

Exodus 7:14–25

Exodus 8:1–15

Exodus 8:16–19

Exodus 8:20–32

Exodus 9:1–7

Exodus 9:8–12

Exodus 9:13–35

Exodus 10:1–20

Exodus 10:21–29