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An Analysis on the Ten Plagues of Egypt

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2022, 28(3), pp.72-101
  • DOI : 10.24333/jkots.2022.28.3.72
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology
  • Received : July 19, 2022
  • Accepted : August 24, 2022

Young Hye Kim 1

1연세대학교 미래캠퍼스

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper introduces the researches of other academic fields on the ten plagues, and attempts to understand the sequence of the plagues by employing the documentary hypothesis. It is explained throughout the paper that the first four plagues are a series of natural phenomena caused by the flooding of the Nile in the summer, whereas the fifth and sixth plagues are disease plagues spread by insects whose numbers drastically increased due to the flooding of the Nile. As for the seventh to ninth plagues, the paper views it as climatic phenomena that occurs intermittently in Egypt from winter to early spring. Finally, the last plague, that is related to the Passover through the plague of the firstborn, is placed in its current location to be chronologically linked to the ninth plague. Through this analysis, the plague narrative of Exodus is interpreted as a product of understandings on Egypt of the time with regard to diseases, exemplified in Deuteronomy, in addition to natural phenomena unique to Egypt. It is evident that the number of plagues was not ten during the oral transition period. The present form of the text is the result of multiple redactional activities, particularly P. It is evidenced in the plague stories Psalms 78 and 105, which have only seven or eight plagues. Thus, the number of plagues was expanded to ten in Exodus by P, who regarded it as a significant number. In doing so, the insect plague was inflated as the plagues of kinnim and of arob, whereas the disease plague as the plagues of livestock pestilence and of boils. The paper concludes that the present form of the ten plague in Exodus manifests vestiges of P’s editing activities carried out by multiple hands in the course of a long period of time, rather than a single activity by a single hand.

Citation status

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