Plagues of Egypt
The Plagues of Egypt (Hebrew: מכות מצרים, Makot Mitzrayim), also called the ten biblical plagues, were ten calamities that, according to the biblical Book of Exodus, Yahweh inflicted upon Egypt to persuade the Pharaoh to release the ill-treated Israelites from slavery. Pharaoh capitulated after the tenth plague, triggering the Exodus of the Hebrew people.
The plagues served to contrast the power of the God of Israel with the Egyptian gods, invalidating them. Some commentators have associated several of the plagues with judgment on specific gods associated with the Nile, fertility and natural phenomena. According to Exodus 12:12, all the gods of Egypt would be judged through the tenth and final plague: "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."
- 1 Context
- 2 Biblical narrative
- 3 Plagues
- 3.1 1. Water into blood (דָם): Ex. 7:14–24
- 3.2 2. Frogs (צְּפַרְדֵּעַ): Ex. 7:25–8:15
- 3.3 3. Lice (כִּנִּים): Ex. 8:16–19
- 3.4 4. Flies or wild animals (עָרוֹב): Ex. 8:20–32
- 3.5 5. Diseased livestock (דֶּבֶר): Ex. 9:1–7
- 3.6 6. Boils (שְׁחִין): Ex. 9:8–12
- 3.7 7. Thunderstorm of hail and fire (בָּרָד): Ex. 9:13–35
- 3.8 8. Locusts (אַרְבֶּה): Ex. 10:1–20
- 3.9 9. Darkness for three days (חוֹשֶך): Ex. 10:21–29
- 3.10 10. Death of firstborn (מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת): Ex. 11:1–12:36
- 4 The plagues in the Quran
- 5 Scholarly interpretation
- 6 Historicity
- 7 Artistic representation
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
The reason for the plagues appears to be twofold: to answer Pharaoh's taunt, "Who [is] the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?", and to indelibly impress the Israelites with God's power as an object lesson for all time, which was also meant to become known "throughout the world".
According to the Book of Exodus, God hardened Pharaoh's heart so he would be strong enough to persist in his unwillingness to release the people, so that God could manifest his great power and cause his power to be declared among the nations, so that other people would discuss it for generations afterward. In this view, the plagues were punishment for the Egyptians' long abuse of the Israelites, as well as proof that the gods of Egypt were false and powerless. If God triumphed over the gods of Egypt, a world power at that time, then the people of God would be strengthened in their faith, although they were a small people, and would not be tempted to follow the deities that God proved false. Exodus 9:15–16 (JPS Tanakh) portrays Yahweh explaining why he did not accomplish the freedom of the Israelites immediately: "I could have stretched forth My hand and stricken you [Pharaoh] and your people with pestilence, and you would have been effaced from the earth. Nevertheless I have spared you for this purpose: in order to show you My power and in order that My fame may resound throughout the world."
The plagues seemed to affect "all the land of Egypt", but the children of Israel were unaffected. For the last plague, the Torah indicates that they were only spared from the final plague by sacrificing the Paschal lamb, marking their place directly above their doors with the lamb's blood, and eating the roasted sacrifice together with Matzot (לחם עוני) in a celebratory feast. The Torah describes God as actually passing through Egypt to kill all firstborn children and cattle, but passing over (hence "Passover") houses which have the sign of lambs' blood on the doorpost. It is debated whether it was actually God who came through the streets or one of his angels. Some also think it may be the Holy Spirit. It is most commonly known as the "Angel of Death". The night of this plague, Pharaoh finally relents and sends the Israelites away under their terms.
After the Israelites leave en masse, a departure known as The Exodus, God introduces himself by name and makes an exclusive covenant with the Israelites on the basis of this miraculous deliverance. The Ten Commandments encapsulate the terms of this covenant. Joshua, the successor to Moses, reminds the people of their deliverance through the plagues. According to 1 Samuel, the Philistines also knew of the plagues and feared their author. Later, the psalmist sang of these events.
The Torah also relates God's instructions to Moses that the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt must be celebrated early on the holiday of Passover (Pesaḥ פסח); the rituals observed on Passover recall the events surrounding the exodus from Egypt. The Torah additionally cites God's sparing of the Israelite firstborn as a rationale for the commandment of the redemption of the firstborn. This event is also commemorated by the Fast of the Firstborn on the day preceding Passover but which is traditionally not observed because a siyum celebration is held which obviates the need for a fast.
It seems that the celebration of Passover waned from time to time, since other biblical books provide references to revival of the holiday. For example, it was reinstated by Joshua at Gilgal, by Josiah, by Hezekiah and, after the return from the captivity, by Ezra. By the time of the Second Temple it was firmly established in Israel.
1. Water into blood (דָם): Ex. 7:14–24
This is what the LORD says: By this you will know that I am the LORD: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink and the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.— Exodus 7:17–18
2. Frogs (צְּפַרְדֵּעַ): Ex. 7:25–8:15
This is what the great LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs. The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. The frogs will go up on you and your people and all your officials.— Exodus 8:1–4
3. Lice (כִּנִּים): Ex. 8:16–19
"And the LORD said [...] Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt." […] When Aaron stretched out his hand with the rod and struck the dust of the ground, lice came upon men and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became lice.— Exodus 8:16–17
4. Flies or wild animals (עָרוֹב): Ex. 8:20–32
The fourth plague of Egypt was of creatures capable of harming people and livestock. The Torah emphasizes that the ‘arob (עָרוֹב, meaning "mixture" or "swarm") only came against the Egyptians, and that it did not affect the Land of Goshen (where the Israelites lived). Pharaoh asked Moses to remove this plague and promised to allow the Israelites' freedom. However, after the plague was gone, the LORD "hardened Pharaoh's heart", and he refused to keep his promise.
The word ‘arob has caused a difference of opinion among traditional interpreters. The root meaning may be related to "mixing". While most traditional interpreters understand the plague as "wild animals" (such as lions, venomous snakes, rhinos), Gesenius along with many modern interpreters understand the plague as a swarm of flies.
5. Diseased livestock (דֶּבֶר): Ex. 9:1–7
This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back, the hand of the LORD will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field—on your horses and donkeys and camels and on your cattle and sheep and goats.— Exodus 9:1–3
6. Boils (שְׁחִין): Ex. 9:8–12
Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh. It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, and festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land."— Exodus 9:8–9
7. Thunderstorm of hail and fire (בָּרָד): Ex. 9:13–35
This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now. Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every man and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die. […] The LORD sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt; hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation.— Exodus 9:13–24
8. Locusts (אַרְבֶּה): Ex. 10:1–20
This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your fathers nor your forefathers have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.— Exodus 10:3–6
9. Darkness for three days (חוֹשֶך): Ex. 10:21–29
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt." So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days.— Exodus 10:21–23
10. Death of firstborn (מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת): Ex. 11:1–12:36
This is what the LORD says: "About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again."— Exodus 11:4–6
Before this final plague, God commanded Moses to inform all the Israelites to mark lamb's blood above their doors on every door in which case the LORD will pass over them and not "suffer the destroyer to come into your houses and smite you" (chapter 12, v. 23).
After this, Pharaoh, furious, saddened, and afraid that he would be killed next, ordered the Israelites to leave, taking whatever they wanted, and asking Moses to bless him in the name of the Lord. The Israelites did not hesitate, believing that soon Pharaoh would once again change his mind, which he did; and at the end of that night Moses led them out of Egypt with "arms upraised".
The plagues in the Quran
In the view of Islam, the plagues were almost identical. In the Quran, they happened as one event instead of ten separate events. It is mentioned in the Quran, specifically in Surah Al-A'raf verse 133 "So We sent on them: the Tuwfan (a calamity causing wholesale death, a flood or a typhoon - Ali, Note 1090 to S. VII.133), the locusts, the Qummal, the frogs, and the blood (as a succession of) manifest signs, yet they remained arrogant, and they were of those people who were criminals". The Quran further relates that the plagues included a mighty blast, showers of stones and earthquakes (Ali, Notes 3462-3464 to S. XXIX.40).
The Book of Deuteronomy, in which Moses reviews the events of the past, mentions the "diseases of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 7:15 and 28:60), but means something that afflicted the Israelites, not the Egyptians; in fact, it never mentions the plagues of the book of Exodus. The Exodus plagues are divine judgments, a series of curses like those in Deuteronomy 28:15–68, which mention many of the same afflictions; they are even closer to the curses in the Holiness code, Leviticus 26, since like the Holiness Code they leave room for repentance. The theme that divine punishment should lead to repentance is echoed in the prophets (Amos 4:6–12, Ezekiel 20), and the form of prophetic speech, "Thus says Yahweh", and the figure of the prophet as divine messenger echoed in the late prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel and the Deuteronomistic history. The theme of Pharaoh's obstinacy is likewise referred to in the 6th century prophets – Isaiah 6:9–13, Jeremiah 5:3, and Ezekiel 3:7–9.
While proponents of biblical archaeology argue that the plague stories are true, a large consensus of historians believe them to be allegorical or inspired by passed-down accounts of disconnected natural disasters. Some scientists claim the plagues can be attributed to a chain of natural phenomena triggered by changes in the climate and environmental disasters hundreds of miles away. Some historians also point to the Ipuwer Papyrus to suggest a possible cataclysmic event in the history of Egypt which might parallel some of the incidents described in the biblical account of the Plagues.
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Some archaeologists believe the plagues occurred at the ancient city of Pi-Rameses in the Nile Delta, which was the capital of Egypt during the reign of Ramesses II. There is some archaeological material which such archaeologists, for example William F. Albright, have considered to be historical evidence of the Ten Plagues; for example, an ancient water trough found in El Arish bears hieroglyphic markings detailing a period of darkness. Albright and other Christian archaeologists have claimed that such evidence, as well as careful study of the areas ostensibly travelled by the Israelites after the Exodus, make discounting the biblical account untenable. This is not a widely held viewpoint, however.
The Egyptian Ipuwer Papyrus describes a series of calamities befalling Egypt, including a river turned to blood, men behaving as wild ibises, and the land generally turned upside down. However, this is usually thought to describe a general and long term ecological disaster lasting for a period of decades, such as that which destroyed the Old Kingdom. The document is usually dated to the end of the Middle Kingdom, or more rarely, to its beginning, fitting the Old Kingdom destruction, but in both cases long before the usual theorized dates for the Exodus.
Some historians have suggested that the plagues are passed-down accounts of several natural disasters, some disconnected, others playing part of a chain reaction. Natural explanations have been suggested for most of the phenomena:
- Plague 1 — water turned into blood; fish died
- Dr. Stephen Pflugmacher, a biologist at the Leibniz Institute for Water Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin believes that rising temperatures could have turned the Nile into a slow-moving, muddy watercourse—conditions favorable for the spread of toxic fresh water algae. As the organism known as Burgundy Blood algae dies, it turns the water red.
- Alternatively, a bloody appearance could be due to an environmental change, such as a drought, which could have contributed to the spread of the Chromatiaceae bacteria which thrive in stagnant, oxygen-deprived water.
- Plague 2 — frogs
- Any blight on the water that killed fish also would have caused frogs to leave the river and probably die.
- Plagues 3 and 4 — biting insects and wild animals
- The lack of frogs in the river would have let insect populations, normally kept in check by the frogs, increase massively. The rotting corpses of fish and frogs would have attracted significantly more insects to the areas near the Nile.
- Plagues 5 and 6 — livestock disease and boils
- There are biting flies in the region which transmit livestock diseases; a sudden increase in their number could spark epizootics.
- Plague 7 — fiery hail
- Volcanic eruption, resulting in showers of rock and fire.
- Plague 8 — locusts
- According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), when they get hungry, a one-ton horde of locusts can eat the same amount of food in one day as 2,500 humans can.
- Plague 9 — darkness
- Plague 10 — death of the firstborn
- If the last plague indeed selectively tended to affect the firstborn, it could be due to food polluted during the time of darkness, either by locusts or by the black mold Cladosporium. When people emerged after the darkness, the firstborn would be given priority, as was usual, and would consequently be more likely to be affected by any toxin or disease carried by the food. Meanwhile, the Israelites ate food prepared and eaten very quickly which would have made it less likely to be contaminated. However, this does not explain how the firstborn cattle alone also would have perished.
- Several researchers have proposed that the 10th plague was the intentional sacrifice of the firstborn of both humans and animals, in order to appease the gods and bring an end to the plague that was ravaging Egypt, e.g. Wilson (1985), Sassoon (2001), and Trevisanato (2005, see below)/ In Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews  it is recorded that the Egyptians knew in advance what was awaiting them. Many of Egyptian families attempted to shield their firstborn from death by hiding them among their Hebrew neighbours. The firstborn who were destined to die pleaded first with their fathers and then with the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go so that they could be saved, but they were beaten and sent off by the servants of the Pharaoh. In the end, those Egyptians who refused to comply were violently forced to do so. God appeared in Egypt at midnight, attended by thousands of “Angels of Destruction” who were fashioned of hail and of fire, and the firstborn were slain. The sacrifice of a firstborn child, usually by fire, was a well-known practice in the ancient Middle East. Those who died by ‘hail’ must have been stoned to death, possibly in an act of mercy after having been set alight. The mention of force used against those who wished to protect their firstborn suggests that a royal decree had been issued for the firstborn to be sacrificed, and that it had been enforced countrywide by soldiers. The sacrifice of the firstborn is the only natural interpretation that can explain why all the firstborn of both people and cattle had died at exactly the same moment in time. It should be noted that according to Josephus, Moses was given the Pharaoh’s crown and that there was no other heir to the throne, suggesting that he was the Pharaoh’s firstborn son. Accordingly, Booysen theorises that Moses as firstborn of the Pharaoh also had to face the sacrificial fires, but somehow managed to escape. Believing that the Hebrew God had saved him from this horrendous death, he recorded his narrow escape as God’s revelation of himself to him (Moses) as the ‘burning bush’ episode in the Bible.
In the 2006 documentary Exodus Decoded, filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici hypothesised the selectiveness of the tenth plague was under the circumstances similar to the 1986 disaster of Lake Nyos that is related to geological activities that caused the previous plagues in a related chain of events. The hypothesis was that the plagues took place shortly after the eruption of Thera (now known as Santorini), which happened sometime between 1650 BCE and 1550 BCE, and recently narrowed to between 1627–1600 BCE, with a 95% probability of accuracy. Jacobovici however places the eruption in 1500 BCE. According to the documentary, the eruption sets off a chain of events resulting in the plagues and eventually the killing of the firstborn. Jacobovici suggests that the firstborns in ancient Egypt had the privilege of sleeping close to the floor, while other children slept at higher levels or even on roofs. This view, however, is not supported by any archaeological or historical evidence. As in Lake Nyos, when carbon dioxide or other toxic gases escape the surface tension of a nearby body of water because of either geological activity or over-saturation, the gas or gases, being heavier than air, "flood" the surrounding area displacing oxygen and killing those in their path.
A volcanic eruption did occur in antiquity and could have caused some of the plagues if it occurred at the right time. The eruption of the Thera volcano was 1,050 kilometres (650 mi) away from the northwest part of Egypt. Controversially dated to about 1628 BC, this eruption is one of the largest on record, rivaling that of Tambora, which resulted in 1816's Year Without a Summer. The enormous global impact of this eruption has been recorded in an ash layer deposit found in the Nile delta, tree ring frost scars in the bristlecone pines of the western United States, and a layer of ash in the Greenland ice caps, all dated to the same time and with the same chemical fingerprint as the ash from Thera.
However, all estimates of the date of this eruption are hundreds of years before the Exodus is believed to have taken place; thus the eruption can only have caused some of the plagues if one or other of the dates is wrong, or if the plagues did not actually immediately precede the Exodus.
Following the assumption that at least some of the details are accurately reported, many modern Jews[who?] believe that some of the plagues were indeed natural disasters, but argue for the fact that, since they followed one another with such uncommon rapidity, "God's hand was behind them". Indeed, several biblical commentators (Nachmanides and, more recently, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky) have pointed out that, for the plagues to be a real test of faith, they had to contain an element leading to religious doubt.
In his book The Plagues of Egypt: Archaeology, History, and Science Look at the Bible, Siro Igino Trevisanato explores the theory that the plagues were initially caused by the Santorini eruption in Greece. His hypothesis considers a two-stage eruption over a time of a bit less than two years. His studies place the first eruption in 1602 BC, when volcanic ash taints the Nile, causing the first plague and forming a catalyst for many of the subsequent plagues. In 1600 BC, the plume of a Santorini eruption caused the ninth plague, the days of darkness. Trevisanato hypothesizes that the Egyptians (at that time under the occupation of Hyksos), resorted to human sacrifice in an attempt to appease the gods, for they had viewed the ninth plague as a precursor to more. This human sacrifice became known as the tenth plague.
In an article published in 1996, physician-epidemiologist John S. Marr and co-author Curt Malloy integrated biblical, historical and Egyptological sources with modern scientific conjectures in a comprehensive review of natural explanations for the ten plagues, postulating their own specific explanations for the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and tenth plagues. Their explanation also accounted for the apparent selectiveness of the plagues, as implied in the Bible. The paper served as the basis for a website and documentary aired on the Learning Channel from 1998 to 2005.
In visual art, the plagues have generally been reserved for works in series, especially engravings. Still, relatively few depictions in art emerged compared to other religious themes until the 19th century, when the plagues became more common subjects, with John Martin and Joseph Turner producing notable canvases. This trend probably reflected a Romantic attraction to landscape and nature painting, for which the plagues were suited, a Gothic attraction to morbid stories, and a rise in Orientalism, wherein exotic Egyptian themes found currency. Given the importance of noble patronage throughout Western art history, the plagues may have found consistent disfavor because the stories emphasize the limits of a monarch's power, and images of lice, locusts, darkness, and boils were ill-suited for decoration in palaces and churches.
Taking direct inspiration from the Ten Plagues, Iced Earth's eleventh studio album Plagues of Babylon contains many references and allusions to the Plagues. Metallica's song "Creeping Death" makes references to a few of the plagues, in addition to the rest of the story of the Exodus. Perhaps the most successful artistic representation of the plagues is Handel's oratorio Israel in Egypt, which, like his perennial favorite, "Messiah", takes a libretto entirely from scripture. The work was especially popular in the 19th century because of its numerous choruses, generally one for each plague, and its playful musical depiction of the plagues. For example, the plague of frogs is performed as a light aria for alto, depicting frogs jumping in the violins, and the plague of flies and lice is a light chorus with fast scurrying runs in the violins.
- Children's books
- The Ten Commandments (1956)
- The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971)
- The Prince of Egypt (1998)
- Magnolia (1999)
- The Reaping (2007)
- Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
- The Bible (2013 miniseries) - Episode 2 has a scene of these plagues.
- Haven - In "A Tale of Two Audreys," the town of Haven is afflicted by almost all of the plagues of Egypt.
- A Rugrats Passover
- Plagues of Egypt, in New Bible Dictionary, second edition. 1987. Douglas JD, Hillyer N, eds., Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL, USA ISBN 0-8423-4667-8
- Commentary on Exodus 7, The Jewish Study Bible, 2004. Berlin A and Brettler M, eds., Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-529751-2
- The Ten Plagues, Dictionary & Concordance
- Exodus 5:2
- Exodus 9:15–16
- The commentary on Exodus 10:1–2, The Jewish Study Bible, 2004. Berlin A and Brettler M, eds., Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-529751-2
- Ex. 9:14, 16
- Joshua 2:9–11; 9:9; Isaiah 4:8; 6:6
- Ex. 12:12; Nu. 33:4
- Exodus 7:21, 8:2, 8:16
- Ex. 8:22, 9:4,11,26, 10:23
- Passover, New Bible Dictionary, second edition. 1987. Douglas JD, Hillyer N, eds., Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL, USA ISBN 0-8423-4667-8
- Wigoder G, Paul S (1986). Viviano B, Stern E, ed. Passover, Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible. G.G. Jerusalem Publishing House Ltd. and Reader's Digest Association, Inc. ISBN 0-89577-407-0.
- Moses, The World Book Encyclopedia, 1998. World Book Incorporated ISBN 0-7166-0098-6
- Exodus 20
- Joshua 24
- 1 Samuel 4:7–9
- Plagues of Egypt, New Bible Dictionary, second edition. 1987. Douglas JD, Hillyer N, eds., Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL, USA ISBN 0-8423-4667-8
- Psalm 78:43–51
- Exodus 12, Leviticus 23, Numbers 9, Deuteronomy 16
- Exodus 13:11–16
- Joshua 5:0–12
- II Kings 23:21–23
- II Chronicles 30:5
- Ezra 6:9
- The Ten Plagues, in Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible, 1986. Wigoder G, Paul S, Viviano B, Stern E, eds., G.G. Jerusalem Publishing House Ltd. And Reader's Digest Association, Inc. ISBN 0-89577-407-0
- Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for ken (Strong's 3654)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996–2012. February 4, 2012
- Aryeh Kaplan, The Living Torah, note on 8:17, as regards the various Midrashic and Rabbinic traditions here.
- Exodus Rabbah 11:2, among others.
- Gesenius's Lexicon, עָרוֹב
- Exodus 14:8
- The Holy Qur-an – Text, Translation and Commentary, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, SH. Muhammad Ashraf, Kashmiri Bazar – Lahore (Pakistan), 1969.
- Ma'ududi commentary of Qur'an
- Al-A'raf about " Fir`awn and His People suffer Years of Drought " Qur'an Tafsir Ibn Qathir
- John Van Seters, "The Pentateuch: A Social-Science Commentary", Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004, p. 114 ISBN 0567080889.
- "Gray, Richard. "Biblical plagues really happened say scientists", ''The Telegraph'', 27 March 2010". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- William Dever, "What Remains of the House that Albright Built?" The Biblical Archaeologist, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Mar. 1993)
- THE MIRACLES OF EXODUS: A Scientist's Discovery of the Extraordinary Natural Causes of the Biblical Stories by Colin Humphreys
- "Pappas, Stephanie. "End Times? It is for a blood-red Texas lake", NBC News, 1 August 2011". MSNBC. January 8, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Chandler, Adam (March 3, 2013). "Estes, Adam Clark. "With Passover Approaching, a Plague of Locusts Descends Upon Egypt", ''The Atlantic Wire'', 3 March 2013". Theatlanticwire.com. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- "Bechtel, Florentine. "Plagues of Egypt." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 13 Jul. 2013". Newadvent.org. June 1, 1911. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Wilson, Ian. The Exodus Enigma, London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1985, pp. 126-127.
- Sassoon, Isaac S.D., Destination Torah – Reflections on the Weekly Torah Readings, Hoboken, NJ: Ktav Publishing House Inc., 2001, pp. 29-30.
- Louis Ginzberg, ‘The Smiting of the Firstborn’ in The Legends of the Jews, Vol. 2, Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1910.
- II Kings 3:26-27
- II Kings 23:10
- Micah 6:7
- Josephus, Antiquities 2.9.7 (233), (237)
- Exodus 3
- The Plagues of Egypt: Archaeology, History, and Science Look at the Bible, by Siro Igino Trevisanato : Georgia Press LLC, 2005
- Marr JS, Malloy CD (1996). "An epidemiologic analysis of the ten plagues of Egypt". Caduceus (Springfield, Ill.). 12 (1): 7–24. PMID 8673614.
- Donna Leon (2011), Handel's Bestiary: In Search of Animals in Handel's Operas, illustrated by Michael Sowa (illustrated ed.), Grove Press, ISBN 978-0802195616
- "The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) – Did You Know?". imdb.com. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
Dr. Phibes murders were inspired by the 10 plagues of Egypt found in the Old Testament
- "The Prince of Egypt". imdb.com. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- "FAQ for Magnolia (1999)". imdb.com. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- "The Reaping". imdb.com. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- "Exodus: Gods and Kings". imdb.com. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
- Hermann and Anna Levinson, Zur Biologie der zehn biblischen Plagen, DGaaE Nachrichten 22 (2008), 83–102 (in German)
- Media related to Plagues of Egypt at Wikimedia Commons