Tenth Plague: Death of Firstborn מכת
וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה, וַיהוָה הִכָּה כָל-בְּכוֹר
בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, מִבְּכֹר פַּרְעֹה הַיֹּשֵׁב עַל-כִּסְאוֹ,
עַד בְּכוֹר הַשְּׁבִי אֲשֶׁר בְּבֵית הַבּוֹר; וְכֹל, בְּכוֹר
וַיָּקָם פַּרְעֹה לַיְלָה, הוּא וְכָל-עֲבָדָיו
וְכָל-מִצְרַיִם, וַתְּהִי צְעָקָה גְדֹלָה, בְּמִצְרָיִם:
כִּי-אֵין בַּיִת, אֲשֶׁר אֵין-שָׁם מֵת.
וַיִּקְרָא לְמֹשֶׁה וּלְאַהֲרֹן לַיְלָה, וַיֹּאמֶר קוּמוּ
צְּאוּ מִתּוֹךְ עַמִּי--גַּם-אַתֶּם, גַּם-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל;
וּלְכוּ עִבְדוּ אֶת-יְהוָה, כְּדַבֶּרְכֶם.
And it came to pass at midnight, that the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the first-born of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night and said: 'Rise up, get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.
Indeed, it required faith to take Moses' assurance that the blood of the lamb would be a substitute for their own and their firstborn's blood. It required faith to accept Moses' assurance that he had been in touch with God and was presenting His divine will. Furthermore, it required true faith putting blood of the Lamb on their doorpost, as this was certain to bring a swift Egyptian retribution in the morning had Moses been wrong. For some Egyptians worshiped the lamb and would have been angered by the sacrificial killing of their god. The show of faith was rewarded that night, as death passed over the homes of the faithful. Hence the name of this holiday, Passover.
Why the decree of death of the firstborn?
This plague demonstrated the total impotence of the gods of Egypt, none capable of protecting their subjects; All the gods worshipped by the Egyptians were a no show, including "Meskhenet," the goddess who presided childbirth, "Hathor," who was one of the seven deities that attended births, "Min," the god of procreation, "Isis," the goddess of fertility, "Selket," the guardian of life, and most importantly, "Renenutet," the cobra-goddess who was the guardian of Pharaoh.
Additionally, we see a "Measure for Measure" - The plague of the first-born as well as the drowning of the soldiers of the Egyptian legions at the Nile was payback for the drowning of the Jewish baby males.
The plague of the death of the first born, the final blow which effected Pharaoh's household as well, brought the Pharaoh surrender. He urges Moses to leave town with all his fellow Jews, their families, and all their worldly possessions. The Jews were ready, and promptly upon Moses' direction were on their way. The exodus from Egypt was underway.
The Ten Plagues of Egypt: Information and more
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