Exod 7:1-4 (ESV)
1 And the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.
2 You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land.
3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt,
4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment.
The Egyptians worshipped a pantheon of gods and the plagues were a confrontation between Yahweh and the deities of Egypt.
On their gods also the LORD executed judgments.
We do not know exactly how many gods they worshipped, but it’s at least 1500 deities.
“Egypt had one of the largest and most complex pantheons of gods of any civilization in the ancient world.”
https://www.britannica.com/list/11-egyp … -goddesses
These gods and goddesses appear in virtually every aspect of ancient Egyptian civilization, and more than 1,500 of them are known by name. Many Egyptian texts mention deities’ names without indicating their character or role, while other texts refer to specific deities without even stating their name, so a complete list of them is difficult to assemble.
The plagues were a demonstration that Yahweh was more powerful than all the Egyptian gods.
The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”
Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods; because in the very thing in which they were proud, he proved to be above them.
In addition, through the plagues, the Hebrews will also know he is their God.
I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
There were ten plagues that struck the Egyptians. In Hebrew thought, ten represents “complete”. So, it carries a symbolic meaning of a complete judgment against all their gods.
“Ten – Divine order, completed cycle, measure, or group (congregation) whether for good or evil, blessing or judgment.”
https://graceintorah.net/2015/06/15/heb … bers-1-10/
“Now ten is a number marking shelemut, or completion and order”
https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Gramm … d/yod.html
First plague – Nile river
Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood.
The Nile river was the life blood of the Egyptians.
The famous Greek historian Herodotus summarized the importance of the river to the Egyptians by saying “Egypt is the gift of the Nile”.
This plague was also against Hapi, the god of the Nile.
Hapi (Ancient Egyptian: ḥʿpy) was the god of the annual flooding of the Nile in ancient Egyptian religion. The flood deposited rich silt (fertile soil) on the river’s banks, allowing the Egyptians to grow crops. Hapi was greatly celebrated among the Egyptians. Some of the titles of Hapi were “Lord of the Fish and Birds of the Marshes” and “Lord of the River Bringing Vegetation”. Hapi is typically depicted as an androgynous figure with a big belly and large drooping breasts, wearing a loincloth and ceremonial false beard.
Hapi was also mentioned in the Pyramid Texts as a destructive power, but one that worked for the pharaoh. As a water god, Hapi was a deity of fertility – he provided water, food and the yearly inundation of the Nile.
Hapi (Hep, Hap, Hapy) was a water and fertility god who was popular throughout Ancient Egypt. It is thought that his name was originally the predynastic name for the Nile. However, by the Dynastic period the Nile was known as “iterw” (“the river”) and the word was used to refer to the god of the Nile (the name “Nile” derives from the Greek word “Neilos” which was a corruption of the Egyptian word “nwy”, meaning “water”).
In the New Kingdom, when Osiris’s death and renewal came to be associated with the annual flooding of the Nile which fertilised Egypt, the waters of the Nile were equated with Isis’s tears of mourning or with Osiris’s bodily fluids. Osiris thus represented the life-giving divine power which was present in the river’s water and in the plants that grew there after the flood.
In this plague, the Egyptian magicians were able to replicate this.
Exod 7:21-22 (KJV)
21 And the fish that [was] in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
22 And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.
Second plague – Frogs
But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs.
This plague was against Heqet, the goddess of fertility.
Heqet (Egyptian ḥqt, also ḥqtyt “Heqtit”), sometimes spelled Heket, is an Egyptian goddess of fertility, identified with Hathor, represented in the form of a frog. To the Egyptians, the frog was an ancient symbol of fertility, related to the annual flooding of the Nile.
The magicians were also able to replicate this plague.
Exod 8:6-7 (KJV)
6 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.
7 And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh hardened his heart (made his heart heavy) after this.
Exod 8:15 (KJV)
15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.