The Mystery Of Pharaoh's Horses
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Posted: Friday, November 21, 2008
by Joel Hendon
Question: "Where did the Egyptians get the horses they used to pursue the Israelites with, after all of their horses were killed off during one of the plagues?"
In Exodus 9:1-4, one of the plagues sent upon Egypt reads as follows: " Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel. "
These two of the ten plagues brought upon Egypt included being upon the cattle, horses, asses, oxen and sheep and following the murrain we find in verse 6, this statement: "And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one."
This statement would seem that every horse, cattle, oxen, sheep an ass would have died from that disease. The plague of hail would seem to have done the same thing, but in this latter case they were warned into the houses.
Now we will fast forward to the fourteenth chapter where it is recorded that Pharaoh's heart was again hardened and he pursued the Israelites with 600 chosen chariots (many chariots were drawn by multiple horses) and also an unknown number of horsemen. So our questioner wants to know where all these horses came from if all their cattle, horses, asses, oxen and sheep were killed in the plagues.
This question might arise even before when the plague of hail came. The murrain (a deadly infectious disease such as anthrax) was said to have killed all the cattle, etc., then, there is a warning before the hail to get their servants and cattle out of the fields. Actually, this has to have been the situation of the murrain plague even though it was not spelled out in the same manner of warning. But if one will notice, in verse 3 of chapter 9 (the murrain plague) you will see that it specifies "the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field," and then includes the horses, asses, sheep, oxen.
It is known that the war horses of kings and pharaoh's were housed in stables and rarely if ever were allowed to run free in the open fields or pastures. The Lord gave them grace enough to save some of their animals, especially for those who believed that His plagues were truly coming. His purpose for all of this was not punishment for Pharaoh or the Egyptian people.
In His infinite wisdom and foreknowledge, He planned this entire escape from Egyptian bondage for His chosen people to show (1) The Egyptians who had gone completely into idolatry (2) the Israelites whom he had chosen to furnish the lineage to the coming messiah (3) and the world, which by the vast majority had also turned completely into idolatry and evil, that he was GOD, that He was in control and that the descendents of Israel were His chosen people.
Pharaoh had the power and opportunity to release the Israelites before any plagues or at anytime during their implementation. But God knew his heart and that he would not until this series of miraculous plagues were sent upon him and even then, his heart was hardened and he destroyed himself and his army in pursuit of God's people.
God's grace is now offered to everyone. We all now have the opportunity to become "the seed of Abraham", the children of God and a brother to Jesus via adoption through the second birth.
This Article has been viewed 3,063 times. (Not updated in real-time.)Top-level comments on this article: (3 total)
I would say amen to your interpretation. This passage, like almost any other in the Bible, speaks of both God’s grace and His holiness. Our God is truly great in mercy – and in holiness.
Thanks Joel, for your comments. I appreciate it very much.
Your article is helpful in pointing out that Pharaoh's royal horses were housed away from the fields, where the other livestock died in the plague. Thanks for sharing the insight. ~mogama~» left by Joel Hendon 4 years 181 days ago.
Thanks for commenting mogama. Yes and some of the cattle themselves had to be inside bcause they still had some. I'm certain that some of the Egyptians were convinced by the earlier plagues that God would do what he said and they perhaps brought some of them into shelter.
Joel, you seem to be spending a lot of time in Egypt? Only kidding. Good job.Hi Robert.I'm very pleased that you are reading my articles. I often need help and you are one that can surely can be of such.» left by Jay Whitley from Selma, NC 2 years 101 days ago.
Im confused, Exodus 9:6 says "And the Lord did that thing on that morrow, and all the cattle of egypt died:" is what I have in my KJV Bible. So if all the cattle of egypt died, did the pharaoh's army use someone else's horses?