“They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came on people and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not.”-Exodus 8:17-18
If there be any thought that the plague of frogs was a natural phenomenon that occurred coincidentally, Moses quickly dispels it when he approaches Pharaoh and gives him the “honor” of deciding exactly when this stroke should end.
It almost seems as if Moses is rubbing his power in Pharaoh’s face.
Regardless, there was an important point to what Moses was doing.
By letting Pharaoh determine specifically when and where the frogs would be removed, he was demonstrating the superiority of his God’s power over Egypt.
Pharaoh, no doubt in a state of desperation, asks Moses to end the plague the next day.
And so it is done.
The following day, millions upon millions of frogs die, thus ending the plague but leaving behind a foul stench that filled the air in the land.
However, as soon as Pharaoh gets some relief, he again hardens his heart.
God speaks to Moses again and tells him to order Aaron to strike the dust of the land with Moses’s staff.
So this is the 3rd and last plague of the 1st set of plagues.
Recall that the structure of the strokes against Egypt is three sets of plagues with each set consisting of three plagues.
Now what is characteristic of each third plague is that no warning is given to Pharaoh before it is issued.
Why is this?
With the 1st plague, Pharaoh is warned and then punishment occurs.
With the 2nd plague, Pharaoh is warned and then punishment occurs.
However, before the third plague occurs, there is no warning.
I find this interesting but I actually really don’t know why God decided to adhere to this pattern when striking Egypt.
If anybody out there knows, please let me know.
There are two interesting characteristics about this particular plague.
First, it is the last plague that will affect BOTH the Hebrews and Egyptians.
From now on, all of the plagues will be directed ONLY towards the Egyptians and NOT affect the Hebrews.
Second, this is the first plague that Pharaoh’s magician’s were NOT able to duplicate.
It seems like the extent of their demonic abilities had been exhausted by this point.
Note the sorcerers’ response “This is the finger of Elohim”.
It seems like these magicians had come to a fresh realization that what was happening was not the work of Moses and Aaron but of the God that was fighting on behalf of Israel.