“And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon.” Exodus 12:29
The death of every first-born of the Egyptians contained so lively a resemblance and bore so natural a relation, to their sin in destroying every male of the Israelites, that they must surely have perceived in it a punishment for that very cruelty; and consequently, must have concluded that the God of Israel took particular notice of human transactions and sooner or later rewarded every man according to his works.
The gradual increase of the judgments inflicted on Egypt is somewhat remarkable, and equally expressive of the mercy and justice of God. The first four plagues were loathsome, rather than fatal. But, after that of the flies came the murrain, which chiefly spent its rage upon the cattle. The boils and blains reached both man and beast, though there was still a reserve for life. The hail and locusts extended, in a great measure, even to life itself — the first by an immediate stroke and both, consequently, by destroying the fruits of the earth. That of darkness added consternation to their minds and lashes to their consciences. And when all this would not reclaim, at length came the decisive blow: first the slaying of the first-born, and then the drowning of the incorrigible tyrant and all his host.
“Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints.”
Devotion by Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky (1690—1774)
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