Background Reading: Exodus 10:24-29; 11 and 12

Exodus 11:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.

2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.

3 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.

4 And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:

5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.

6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.

7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.

8 And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger.

9 And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.

10 And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Exodus 12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.

30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

MEMORY VERSE: For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

Exodus 12:12

CENTRAL THOUGHT: The last plague God executed upon Egypt was the killing of all the firstborn, from which God provided a way of escape for the Israelites through the blood of a lamb. With this final plague, God’s judgments on Egypt were complete and His power as God over all gods was fully shown.


Today we will study only the part of the last plague in which God showed His judgment upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians. In the next lesson we will study how God spared His people from the great slaughter by instituting the Passover. Although they are interconnected—the plague and the Passover—we will try to separate them into two lessons for the sake of time and space.

After three days of heavy darkness, Pharaoh somehow got the message to Moses: “You may go! I’ll even let your little ones go with you. Only—your flocks and herds must stay.” When Moses repeated what he had said so many times, that their flocks and herds were needed for the offerings which were a part of their worship, Pharaoh got so angry that he threatened Moses’ life if he ever saw him again. Moses knew the final blow was coming. He agreed, “I will see your face no more.”

God gave Moses step-by-step instructions for what was ahead. On the tenth day of the month, the people were to take an unblemished lamb, one per family, and keep it penned up until the fourteenth day, when they were to kill it, apply the blood in a certain way to the posts of their doors, roast it and eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread, and prepare for their journey.

The men and women were to borrow traveling supplies, gold, silver, and clothing from their Egyptian neighbors. By this time the Egyptians were ready to do anything to help these people get on their way out of Egypt. “The Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians.” Also, Moses was now held in very high esteem by not only the Israelites, but also the Egyptians and Pharaoh’s servants.

At midnight, just as God had said, a great cry of terror was heard all over Egypt. Not one Egyptian household escaped the hand of death. Every firstborn child lay dead. Even the firstborn of the animals—those who were left from the other plagues—died. The Egyptians were known for their mourning at a time of death. They would run into the streets howling and whipping or beating themselves frantically. What a scene of horror this night must have been!

Pharaoh at last called for Israel to leave his country: men, women, little ones, flocks and herds. The Egyptian people were urgent. “We are all dead men,” they said.

The exodus had begun.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. The Israelites were asked to borrow gold and silver from their neighbors. Can you suggest a reason for this?
  2. How did God express the ultimate protection he had put over the children of Israel? Find the phrase showing this.
  3. The memory verse tells that the plagues were really judgments upon the _____ of Egypt.


“For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments” (Numbers 33:4).

In the January 19 lesson we learned some of the names of the various gods which were targeted by the plagues God sent upon Egypt. Here are several more which can be named: The plagues of “hail (No. 7) and locusts (No. 8) were…directed against Seth, who manifests himself in wind and storms; and/or against Isis, goddess of life, who grinds, spins flax and weaves cloth; or against Min, who was worshiped as a god of fertility and vegetation and as a protector of crops. Min is an especially likely candidate for these two plagues because the notations in Exodus 9:31 indicate that the first plague came as the flax and barley were about to be harvested, but before the wheat and spelt had matured. Darkness (No. 9), pursuing this line of interpretation, could have been directed against various deities associated with the sun—Amon-Re, Aten, Atum or Horus.

“Finally, the death of the firstborn (No. 10) was directed against the patron deity of Pharaoh, and the judge of the dead, Osiris” (Ziony Zevit, Three Ways to Look at the Ten Plagues in

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


The most powerful thing that man possesses is his free will. He can refuse God’s commands, resist His dealings or reject Him altogether. God respects man’s will to the point that He refuses to override it or to force man to do anything against it; even though it may clearly be against God’s own will. That is powerful! But with this power comes a grave responsibility. There are consequences to disobedience and rejection of God’s way.

Each approach Moses made to Pharaoh was an expression of God’s mercy to Pharaoh and to the nation of Egypt. Each rejection demonstrates the freedom of our will and the inherent power God has given us. However, we can cross a “line” where the heart grows harder and, with each appeal, becomes more and more impenetrable; until at last the cry of mercy is silenced, and all that is left is the demand for judgment.

We must not look at judgment as merely being punitive. It is God’s last resort–the one solution left after mercy has been extended and expended. It is ultimately the only thing that stops the undesirable behavior and, in the process, teaches valuable lessons. The Egyptians learned about the God of Israel and about the inferiority of their gods. They learned of the power of God’s kingdom over every other kingdom and his power over life and death. These were valuable lessons learned at extraordinary costs.

Simple obedience to God’s Word would have spared them from so much pain and suffering. Yet Pharaoh continued to refuse, and God continued to respect his choice until at last all mercy was exhausted.

Disobedience to God is no small matter. If we reject the commands of an eternal God, we place ourselves in jeopardy of eternal consequences. May God help us to learn the lessons while there is yet time to respond to His merciful dealings.

—Bro. Darrell Johnson