Plague of Disease on the Cattle: Virus Rinderpest?

Welcome back to Time in the Word. We are halfway through our Ten Plagues. The plague of disease on the cattle had many effects. Unfortunately, the animals took the brunt of this plague. It was thought to be the virus rinderpest.

Rinderpest is a virus that belongs to the measles and canine distemper viruses- the genus Morbillivirus. Humans are unaffected by rinderpest, but rinderpest made a zoological jump through measles, which made its debut in the 11th century.


This virus, rinderpest, needs a host in order to do its replication. Rinderpest binds to receptors on the host cell membrane, fuses with the cell, and empties its genetic information into the cytoplasm. Once this genetic information was exchanged, the virus begins to make new virions, spreading throughout the body.

This virus starts its attack in the lymphatic and respiratory systems and is present in all body fluids making it easily transmissible. This virus’s incubation period is short, with a rapid progression of symptoms and infection. Here is a list of symptoms:

  • ulcerating sores in the soft tissues of the affected animal
  • extreme fevers
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • weakness
  • death around ten days

Rinderpest is to blame for the 19th-century famine in Africa. The virus decimated 90% of Southern and East Africa’s cattle and in turn, caused a famine. This famine killed one-third of Ethiopia’s population, with death counts equaling the Black Plague. In addition, the virus made its way into the local wildlife, destroying those populations with extreme precision. The long-lasting effects of this rinderpest outbreak in Africa have extended into the 21st century.

As recently as June 2019, the Pirbright Institute in Surrey had the most extensive laboratory stock of rinderpest in the world. Fortunately, this large stock was supposedly destroyed.

Plague Number Five: Disease

Scripture Exodus 9:1-7– NIV

Moses and Aaron visit again with Pharaoh. Moses tells Pharaoh that if he continues to hold back the Israelites from leaving and refuses to let them go and worship in the wilderness, God will bring a terrible disease to the cattle of Egypt. God will make a clear distinction between the Israelite cattle and Egyptian cattle, with no sickness among the Israelites cattle. God gave Pharaoh one day before the plague of disease began.

True, to God’s word, the Egyptian cattle fell ill and died, while the Israelites cattle remained healthy. Pharaoh even went to see if it was true. To Pharaoh’s amazement, the Israelite cattle were alive and healthy. Yet, Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to let the people go.

The death of everything from cows, camels, horses, sheep, and goats took a huge toll on the Egyptian people. Hitting food sources as well as the economy.

Egyptian god or goddesses the plague confronted– Barnes Bible Chart pdf

  • Moses and Aaron continued to be obedient to God. They did and said as instructed.
  • Pharaoh’s magicians didn’t even try to duplicate this plague.
  • Affected Egyptian property.
  • All Egyptian livestock died.
  • God very distinctly kept the plague to the Egyptian people. The Israelites would not be affected.
  • I found it interesting that God used the death of the animals as a warning- it affected their economy, as well as their food supply. Think of how devastating the death of adult cattle would be. No babies to rear up. They were left with nothing. Long-lasting effects.
  • Ipuwer Papyrus mentions this plague.
  • Are you noticing how patient God has been with Pharaoh? Every plague seems to have a 24-hour think about before you respond.
  • Has God ever given you 24 hours to think about a possible consequence of action?

Thank you for joining me here today in Time in the Word. See you back here next week when we tackle the plague of boils. If you have ever had a boil, you know how painful they are. Imagine your body full of boils?!


Plague of Flies

Welcome back to Time in the Word. Today we start the fourth plague, the plague of flies. Thus far, Pharaoh had shown only one time a tiny sliver of repentance when he asked Moses to pray that the plague of frogs would leave. But once the frogs had died, he went back on his word.

Have you ever relented and then hardened your heart to a person or situation? How did that decision turn out for you? What effect did it have on this situation or the person? Sometimes I wish there was a way to go back and change what was said or done. Good thing God’s mercies are new every morning and we receive another chance to apologize and do our best to right what we’ve done wrong. AMEN!

Plague Number Four: Flies

Exodus 8:20-32– NIV,

Moses and Aaron pay Pharaoh another early morning Nile River call. Once again, Moses is to ask Pharaoh to allow the Israelites time off to go worship God in the desert. Should Pharaoh not agree, God will send swarms of flies that will come upon Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s officials, and the Egyptian people. The flies will fill all Egyptian houses and the ground.

God also instructs Moses to tell Pharaoh that this plague is only for the Egyptians. He is no longer punishing the Israelites, making it very distinct that God is in Pharaoh’s land controlling where the flies go.

Pharaoh does not relent. The flies swarm in and “ruin” the land. Only after the flies come and ruin the land does Pharaoh tell Moses that the Israelites are free to go worship, but only IN Egypt. They could not leave and go into the desert and worship. Do you find that interesting? Pharaoh always wants the Israelites to leave on his terms. These terms are his way of testing God. Pharaoh is used to being a god in Egypt and is unaware of the One True God’s might and power.

Moses knows how to play Pharaoh’s game. He points out to Pharaoh that staying in the land and sacrificing would be a detestable practice to the Egyptian people and most likely get them all stoned. The thought of losing all his working slaves to stoning would put the kibosh on his monument building.

Having thought better of losing his workforce, Pharaoh relents and tells Moses that they can go into the wilderness, but NOT FAR, and that Moses should pray for Pharaoh.

Moses agrees to pray for Pharaoh as soon as he leaves the river, and the flies would leave the next day. The flies leave, and Pharaoh hardens his heart.

Egyptian god or goddesses the plague confronted– Barnes Bible Chart pdf

  • Uatchit- the fly goddess of Egypt

Interesting notes and insights

  • Moses and Aaron continued to be obedient to God. They did and said as instructed.
  • There was NO attempt by Pharaoh’s magicians to duplicate the fly plague.
  • God very distinctly kept the plague to the Egyptian people. The Israelites would not be affected by the plague from this point on.
  • Do you think Pharaoh questioned why the Israelites were punished by the Egyptians in the first three plagues? Could this be why he hardened his heart?
  • Moses warns Pharaoh not to be deceitful by asking for prayer and subsequent removal of flies and then go back on his word. Why do you think Pharaoh hardened his heart once again? Note- it wasn’t God hardening Pharaoh’s heart.

Thank you for joining me here today in Time in the Word. See you back here next week when we tackle the plague of disease on the cattle.

Plague of Lice

Welcome back to Time in the Word. Today, we embark on the third plague, the plague of lice. This third plague causes a bit of translation interpretation trouble. The trouble was whether or not this was lice, gnats, or mosquitoes. When I run into interpretive concerns, I go to my favorite Jewish websites and read what they have to say.

While researching various biblical things, I have to remind myself that I learned about the Bible through a Sunday School curriculum lens. Most children’s bible stories are shortened versions of a Bible passage, pulling out a single lesson to learn. As we get older and dig into the Bible more, we discover those children’s Bible stories were scratching the surface.

I liken my Sunday School experience to one of the teachers’ planting seeds that finally germinated in my late twenties. This is where I began to dig more into my faith and God’s word. The Bible is like a mansion with many doors, leading to many rooms. Waiting for me to open and discover the richness of their words and place in my life. I hope you have found this as well.

Plague Number Three: Lice

Scripture: Exodus 8:16-19– NIV,

If you jump between the NKJV and the NIV, you will find that the NIV says “gnats” and that the NKJV says “like lice”- but let’s not worry about whether or not it was lice or gnats, let’s focus on what God asked Aaron to do with the staff. God asked Moses to tell Aaron to “strike the dust of the ground”.

The third plague of lice affected both man and animals. Making everyday living very uncomfortable. I would think the constant annoyance of scratching your skin, along with feeling something crawling on you, would be enough to drive someone crazy.

Interestingly, the Egyptian magicians, using their secret arts, could NOT duplicate this plague. The magicians even told Pharaoh that this was “the finger of God”. I’m often curious why God let the magicians duplicate the first two plagues. What do you think?

True to God’s word, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen.

Egyptian god or goddesses the plague confronted– Barnes Bible Chart pdf

  • Seb-, god of the earth, dust

Interesting notes and insights

  • Moses and Aaron continued to be obedient to God. They did and said as instructed.
  • Pharaoh’s magicians could NOT duplicate this plague. Why do you think they could not duplicate this plague?
  • What purpose did the lice serve?
  • Did this plague occur in Goshen as well? This is questionable, as the Bible does not DIRECTLY speak of it affecting Goshen, where the Israelites live. Many scholars feel the first three plagues affected Israel as a tool to chasten them for assimilating to Egyptian life and worship of their gods.
  • What do you think is the significance of Aaron striking the dust? What does dust represent?
  • This time, Pharaoh does not ask Moses to pray. Why do you think Pharaoh didn’t ask for prayer?

Interestingly, God chose lice. If you’ve ever had head lice or body lice, I’m sure you found them to be very pesky! Do you have “lice” in your life? What irritations are they causing you? Unlike Pharaoh, you can enlist prayer and ask God to help you identify the lice in your life. He will show you how to get rid of them.

Till next time. Thank you for joining me here today, in Time in the Word.

Show Time! Staff to snakes

Welcome to Time in the Word. If you missed last week’s devotional, you can catch it here, Moses and Aaron presented God’s terms and conditions to Pharaoh. Pharaoh, as predicted, said no. Now God has Moses and Aaron perfected positioned. Moses will be like a God to Pharaoh (See how God uses this? We have to meet people where they are!), and Aaron will be like Moses’s prophet. Show Time! Staff to snakes and other scary stuff are about to take place.

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Plague of Frogs

Welcome back to Time in the Word. If you missed last week’s devotional, you can catch that here. This week we head into the plague of frogs. God is methodically attacking the top Egyptian gods and goddesses. Israel needs to see God at work fighting for them and their freedom. Pharaoh needs to submit to God’s authority, but Pharaoh’s hard heart gives God the time to display His signs and wonders.

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Plague of Blood

Welcome back to Time in the Word. I am excited because today, we get into the thick of the showdown between God and Pharaoh. If you missed last week’s devotional, you can catch that here. Today we tackle the Plague of Blood.

I will be presenting the plagues in a different format than I usually do. Hopefully, this format will make it easier to process the information. It will also allow me to pack as much information and insights as possible. As I write this, I envision someone madly scribbling out their thoughts on a chalkboard with arrows and directions on how to follow my thoughts. Thank you for hanging in there all these weeks. It took a while to get to this point.

Grab a pen and paper. Open your Bible to Exodus 7:14-25, Barnes has a great free pdf to go along with our study. You can download that pdf chart here. Going forward, our devotional study will begin with:

  • supporting scripture
  • plague and its synopsis
  • gods/goddesses of Egypt God attacks
  • interesting notes and insights

Plague Number One: BLOOD

Scripture: Exodus 7:14-25

God has given Moses and Aaron instructions to meet Pharaoh at the Nile. As I’ve stated in the past devotionals, the Nile was an important part of Egyptian life. Egyptians believed that the gods blessed them through the water of the Nile. The Nile River provided life-giving water to the Egyptians for fishing, crops (during the six months it rose, it brought beautiful silt with nutrients for growing crops, left behind as it receded), and mud for making homes for their growing civilization.

Why was Pharaoh at the Nile so early in the morning? That is a good question. Biblical scholars have suggested that:

  1. Pharaoh was there to check the depth of the Nile
  2. He was there to take a bath- nobility bathed in public
  3. It was time to go to the bathroom, and he wanted to conceal his humanity- Pharaoh was thought of as a god

Whatever the reason for the Nile visit, Moses and Aaron met Pharaoh there to confront him once again. God has instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh he must let the Israelites go, and Aaron is to hold out the staff over the streams, ponds, canals and reservoirs, and God would strike the water, and the water would turn blood. This act also included water in wooden or stone jugs.

The result would be the death of fish, the water would stink, and the Egyptians would not be able to drink the water. Because the Nile had turned to blood, the Egyptians had to dig next to the Nile to find drinkable water. The land of Goshen possibly experienced this plague as well.

Moses and Aaron did as God said. The Nile and all water turned instantly turned to blood, dead fish rose to top of the Nile, and the smell was awful. Egyptians could not drink the water.

Pharaoh’s magicians performed their ‘secret arts’, and they were able to reproduce the turning of water into blood. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. And he blew off Moses and Aaron. Seven days passed after the Nile turned to blood.

Egyptian god or goddesses the plague confronted– Barnes Bible Chart pdf

Khnum– Guardian of the Nile river’s source,

Hapi– Spirit of the Nile

Osiris– The Nile thought to be his bloodstream

Interesting notes and insights

  • Moses and Aaron showed obedience. They said and did just as God instructed.
  • Though the magicians duplicated the plague, they had to use ‘secret arts’ to perform them- Luciferian, satanic.
  • Did this plague occur in Goshen as well? This is questionable, as the Bible does not DIRECTLY speak of it affecting Goshen, where the Israelites live. Many scholars feel that the first three plagues did affect Israel as a tool to chasten them for assimilating to Egyptian life and worship of their gods.
  • Documented, historical reference of the plague/plagues in the Ipuwer Papyrus.
  • God provided the Egyptians with clean water to live. They had to dig next to the Nile, as they could not draw directly from the Nile.
  • God was letting all the Egyptians and the Israelites know he was the TRUE God.
  • We should pay attention and seek God when we see signs and wonders. The spiritual realm exists. DO NOT DOUBT IT!
  • Do not doubt God’s working in your life through various means.
  • Doubt, hardening your heart and refusing to listen lead you away from the true God.

As we think about the first plague, do you see God performing signs in wonders in your life, your work life, and the world around you? Have you asked yourself what these things may mean? Are you seeking God for wisdom and discernment?

Till next time. Thank you for joining me here in Time in the Word.

Gods and Goddesses 101

Welcome back to Time in the Word. If you missed last week’s devotional, you can catch that here. Today we begin with Moses and Aaron’s initial visit to Pharaoh. You could consider it an official meet and greet. Though no one exchanged business cards or traded pleasantries, God is setting the stage for his power to be displayed. Today we get to dive into Gods and Goddesses 101.

Turn with me in your Bible to Exodus 5 and 6. If you are reading this digitally, you can get the scripture here. BE SURE to check out the goodies linked below. There are articles to read and helpful PDFs to print out and mull over. Enjoy!

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Ready or Not: Moses vs. Pharaoh and the Egyptian gods

Welcome back to Time in the Word. Today we finally arrive in Egypt with Moses, and it’s about time! Moses gave God many reasons why he shouldn’t be the one to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

God certainly displayed his grace and patience with Moses. Ready or not, you’re going to represent me, and I will show all of Egypt who the ONE TRUE GOD IS!

Before we arrive in Egypt, I left out some important details pertaining to Moses’ journey. Last week Moses was told to go back to Egypt. To go and meet with the Israelite elders. Should the elders question Moses about who sent him, he is to say ‘I AM’ has sent him. If they require a sign, he is to show them the Staff sign, the Leprous Arm sign, and then the Nile turning to blood sign.

Catching you up on what we skipped

Here are a few things we skipped:

  1. Moses told God he wasn’t good at speaking. God said that he created Moses and that he, GOD, would help him speak and then told Moses to get to Egypt. Moses didn’t like God’s response, so he told God to find somebody else. God got VERY angry with Moses. God told Moses that his brother Aaron could speak well and that Moses should feed Aaron the words, and God would speak through both of them. Take your staff and go!- I can’t help but think Moses missed something by arguing his being “less than” for the job God had for him.-M
  2. Moses says goodbye to Jethro and takes his wife and boys back to Egypt. On the way, God meets Moses and is about to kill him. Zipporah, his wife, immediately senses God’s attack on Moses is because he hasn’t circumcised one of his boys. Zipporah circumcises the boy and isn’t too happy about it.- It’d be fun to come back to this later.-M
  3. God reveals the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. And tells Moses to warn Pharaoh if he doesn’t let Israel, God’s firstborn, go worship in the wilderness, God will take the life of Pharaoh’s firstborn son.
  4. The Lord tells Aaron to meet Moses in the wilderness. Moses shares with Aaron all that God has revealed. As well as what to say and the signs Moses is to perform.

Egypt! Let the games begin

After arriving, Aaron and Moses meet with the elders, and Aaron shares everything that Moses had said. Moses also performed the signs. The elder’s believed what was said and told. Moses and Aaron get an audience with Pharaoh. They ask that the Israelites be allowed to leave for their Festival in the wilderness.

Pharaoh is pretty cocky and unimpressed. He said, “Who is the Lord and why should I obey him…?”. Things are about to get pretty uncomfortable for Moses and Pharaoh has no idea what is coming his way.

Thank you for joining me here, today, in Time in the Word. Come back next week when Moses finds out leadership can be a lonely place.

God Gives Moses the Game Plan and the Outcome

Welcome back to Time in the Word. Today we are quickly picking up where we left off last week. In case you missed last week’s devotional, you can get that here. Turn with me in your Bibles to Exodus 3:16- Exodus 4:1-29. You can find a digital link here. Moses started giving God his excuses for not being qualified to lead the Israelites out of Israel. God has ignored the excuses, and as we will see, God gives Moses the game plan along with the outcome. Has God ever given you a plan and the outcome of that plan?

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