The Book Of Exodus Essay

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Student Number: 201423787
Course: GradDip
Unit: OT501D: Old Testament Foundations
Title: What is the theological function of the plague narratives within the book of Exodus?
Word limit: 2000
Word count: 1927
Date due: 16/4/2014
Date submitted: 15/4/2014
The following essay, of which I have kept a copy, is entirely the work of the undersigned and all sources of ideas and expressions are duly acknowledged in footnotes or endnotes.

Signed: Daniel Chieng Date: 15/4/14


The main theological function of the plague narratives in Exodus is to bring about recognition of God to the Egyptians and the Israelites. The author of Exodus has wonderfully used a well-structured literary style
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Therefore, the plague narrative also serves a function of demonstrating who Yahweh is to His own people. Israel must also know Yahweh as we see in Exodus 10:2. Throughout the narrative, we see many allusions to the Egyptian gods and the impotence of these gods before God of Israel.9 There are multiple gods in the Egyptian temple. As an example, in the first plague, the Nile River was turned into blood. The river was an important source of fertility to the land of Egypt. Thus, it was dedicated to many gods (Osiris, Hapi, Sepek etc.) of the Egyptians.10 By turning the river into blood, it eloquently reveals the power of Yahweh and the inferiority of Egyptian gods. For the Egyptians who looked to various gods associated with the Nile, this event would have produced many questions for their faith. Even the magicians had to acknowledge in the third plague that it is the finger of God as they could not replicate it (Exod. 8:19). As for the Israelites, the plague narrative is a reminder of the mighty and awesome power of God who had chosen them and kept His promise. A reminder that would help to strengthen their faith in Him.
Each plague brings deeper knowledge and understanding of Yahweh. They are not simply acts of judgment, but something that God uses to reveal Himself. Because they are more than just punishments, they fail to actually secure Israel’s release each time. As ‘signs’, they are used to
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