When God purposed to remove His children from Egypt He had to show Himself and His power to Israel. Since they had been in Egypt several hundred years they knew Egyptian gods very well. His “attack” on the polytheistic belief system started on the human connection with the gods – Pharaoh. He was the mediator between the gods
and the people and the cobra was his protection. It was sculpted into a uraeus (the hood flared cobra) which pharaoh wore on his head. This all deals with one of their creation stories. Pharaoh set the tone for the beliefs of the nation and the swallowing of his symbol and that of the magicians set the tone for the rest of the Exodus.
Many documentaries have been made tying all of the Plagues together but I noticed an interesting connection between the first three (see Start to Out of Egypt). The Nile River was not only their source of water but also the major trade route. Several gods/goddess served as water deities so this judgment was also a major sign for the children of Israel. The third plague was on the land and again several deities are recognized as soil/sand/desert gods. It is interesting that plague number two was frogs/toads as they are amphibians and live in or on both water and land. The frog/toad binds the first and third plague together. There was an animal (besides man) that was affected with each of the first three plagues (1st fish, 2nd frogs, 3rd gnats/mosquitoes with the livestock). The Hebrew word associated with plague three could have been fleas, gnats, mosquitoes, or lice. There are logical connections for Plagues One through Four because bad water and dead fish would have contributed to frogs then mosquitoes and the piles of dead frogs would have supplied meat for the flies. As I said in my post Frogs, beer was important to Egyptians and a favorite type of beer was “red as human blood.”
Plague Three the magicians could not reproduce the plague and finally had to admit that God was stronger than they were. I did find it notable that they only attributed this plague as being the “finger of God” and not the hand or arm. Maybe they at least realized that it could get a lot worse.
In studying this I have wondered how long the Nile stayed polluted? Was it just seven days? It does not say but if God were also teaching Israel about the weakness of Egyptian gods making them work to get their water would have been major! So the first three plagues “defeated” the gods of Pharaoh, water, fish, frogs (beer/bread), and land.
In the Bible frogs are mentioned in two contexts: in Exodus 8 as the second plague and in Revelation 16 where evil spirits look like frogs. In Exodus, the Lord is freeing His people from Egypt. Pharaoh and his country have been selected to show the glory of God and the plagues are Jehovah showing His power over the gods of Egypt. His “miraculous signs and wonders” start in chapter 7 with Aaron’s rod/snake swallowing the magician’s rods/snakes. (Reflections on these later; so, back to the frogs.)
Chapter 7 ends with a timestamp of “seven days.” Chapter 8 begins with Moses asking for the release of the people or frogs will invade the land. I believe in the supernatural but I also think that God uses His natural laws. I don’t see where the Nile was changed back so did seven days allow for clearing of the water? Since Father God had been planning this it seems reasonable that the tadpoles were in place so they would have been breathing air by this time. I looked for the life cycle of Egyptian toads/frogs and could not find times for the growth of the animals. Their predators (fish, another god) had been killed in the polluted water so more would have been available for the invasion.
A frog goddess Heqet (Heket) was revered and connected with fertility and childbirth. Her depictions were either a frog or a woman with a frog’s head. She symbolized new life and/or fruitfulness and it is possible that her priestesses were midwives. The frog became the symbol for 100,000 or “immense number.” The “hefnu” (symbol) was because of their fertility and the association with water (another god) made them a positive and potent symbol. Because they were held as sacred the Egyptians would not have killed the invaders. In researching Egyptian toads/frogs some of the species have a mildly toxic secretion, which could have caused some people to scratch the area where they were touched. So contact with the animals would have been very unpleasant. They also would have been active during the day or night and the toads could have traveled away from canals. Part of the judgment was that they would come upon the people and into ovens and bread kneading troughs. At first, you think this is just so the people would have a hard time making food but beer in ancient Egypt was made in conjunction with bread making. Beer was a very important commodity in Egypt and was actually a payment for labor. In God’s sense of humor shutting down beer making actually shut done all work in Egypt. Oh, one Egyptian word for beer is heqet or heket the name of the frog goddess. (Father God shut down another Egyptian god in the beer/yeast cult.) (See yeast) One complaint against the children of Israel was that they very abundant so this judgment on Heket is even more ironic since frogs were the symbol for abundance.
This plague and the actions of Pharaoh and his magicians are interesting in their own right. In know in Exodus 8:22 God makes a distinction between Israel and Egypt but with the frogs, everything is “you and your people” so it makes you wonder exactly who was plagued. Because “bedroom and bed” are mentioned it leaves to wonder if the plague started at night. With the blood and frogs, it seems that all the magicians could do was add to the misery of the people by calling more of the plague upon them. It seems that Pharaoh would have told the magicians to rid the land of the frogs but it is Moses and God who is finally left with ridding the land of the frogs so they could make them but not get rid of them. My question is why did Pharaoh wait to get rid of the frogs? The piling up of the frogs instead of burying or throwing them back into the Nile probably stems from the fact that they were sacred. One commentary mentioned that they may have died of anthrax or of dehydration while others suggest lack of food.
The other mention of frogs in the Bible is the Seven Bowls of Wrath that are poured out in Revelation 16. These Bowls closely resemble the judgments of Egypt’s gods but the frogs here are evil spirits that come out of the mouth of the dragon, beast, and false prophet. They are released after the Euphrates River is dried up. Their mission is to perform miraculous signs thus bringing the kings of the earth to Armageddon. Going back to the first appearance you have to think that those signs will be abundant and probably deal with the economy and may have a religious overtone.