Plague — a “stroke” of affliction, or disease. Sent as a divine chastisement (Num. 11:33; 14:37; 16:46–49; 2 Sam. 24:21). Painful afflictions or diseases, (Lev. 13:3, 5, 30; 1 Kings 8:37), or severe calamity (Mark 5:29; Luke 7:21), or the judgment of God, so called (Ex. 9:14). Plagues of Egypt were ten in number.
(1.) The river Nile was turned into blood, and the fish died, and the river stank, so that the Egyptians loathed to drink of the river (Ex. 7:14–25).
(2.) The plague of frogs (Ex. 8:1–15).
(4.) The plague of flies (Heb. arob, rendered by the LXX. dog-fly), Ex. 8:21–24.
(5.) The murrain (Ex.9:1–7), or epidemic pestilence which carried off vast numbers of cattle in the field. Warning was given of its coming.
(6.) The sixth plague, of “boils and blains,” like the third, was sent without warning (Ex.9:8–12). It is called (Deut. 28:27) “the botch of Egypt,” A.V.; but in R.V., “the boil of Egypt.” “The magicians could not stand before Moses” because of it.
(8.) The plague of locusts, which covered the whole face of the earth, so that the land was darkened with them (Ex. 10:12–15). The Hebrew name of this insect, arbeh, points to the “multitudinous” character of this visitation. Warning was given before this plague came.
(9.) After a short interval the plague of darkness succeeded that of the locusts; and it came without any special warning (Ex. 10:21–29). The darkness covered “all the land of Egypt” to such an extent that “they saw not one another.” It did not, however, extend to the land of Goshen.
(10.) The last and most fearful of these plagues was the death of the first-born of man and of beast (Ex. 11:4, 5; 12:29,30). The exact time of the visitation was announced, “about midnight”, which would add to the horror of the infliction. Its extent also is specified, from the first-born of the king to the first-born of the humblest slave, and all the first-born of beasts. But from this plague the Hebrews were completely exempted. The Lord “put a difference” between them and the Egyptians. (See PASSOVER.)