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Length of the Plagues

Written by: Dake, Finis Jennings    Posted on: 01/06/2005

Category: Bible Studies


Dake - The Ultimate Study Bible
Commentary Notes
We're all familiar with the ten plagues that God brought on Egypt in the process of delivering the children of Israel from their bondage. But have you ever thought about how long these plagues lasted, how many days it would have taken to implement them? Consider the frustration of Moses in this regard:

And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all. (Exodus 5:22-23)

The notes on page 69 of The Dake Annotated Reference Bible are a typical example of the kind of detailed analysis Dake gives to such questions:

Length of the Plagues (Ex. 5:23)
Just how long Moses had been back in Egypt is not known, but doubtless only a few days or a few weeks at the most. God had not yet been given time enough to deliver Israel. He knew that several more weeks would be needed before this could be realized.

The Days Named for the Plagues:

One day to go before Pharaoh and perform the serpent miracle (7:10-15)
Seven days for the miracle of the waters to blood (7:15-25)
Several days for frogs to cover all Egypt and accomplish the purpose in making life unbearable (8:1-8)
One day to destroy frogs (8:10-15)
Several days for the lice plague to have the desired effect (8:16-19)
Several days for the flies to plague all of Egypt. Two days are mentioned for bringing and removing them (8:23, 29)
Two days-one to announce and one to destroy the animals of Egypt, besides time for Pharaoh to harden his heart (9:1, 5, 7)
Several days for boils to be upon the Egyptians (9:8-12)
One day to announce the next plague (9:13); one day for the plague (hail) to begin (9:18); and one day for Moses to be called (9:27)
Two days for locusts to cover Egypt (10:4-6, 13); one day for Moses to be called (10:8-11); a day or so for the locusts to cause their destruction in Egypt (10:12-17); and two days to remove them (10:18-19 with v. 13)
Three days of darkness (10:21-23) and one day to call Moses (10:24-29)
One day to ask of the Egyptians and to slay the passover (11:1-10; 12:29-36)

It took at least three to seven weeks for the ten plagues. Twenty-six days are named, besides an unspecified number of days for certain plagues to become effective and perform what they were designed to do: On the basis of ten days for the first plague (7:25) and the ninth plague (10:22), and supposing that the other plagues lasted this long, at least fifty days were needed for the plagues.

© 1997, Dake Publishing, Inc.


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