22 April 2008

The Top Ten Biblical Plagues

I recently listed the top ten biblical massacres and the ten plagues of Egypt. And although the Egyptian plagues are by far the best known, there are just a sample of the plagues sent by God in the Bible.

Here is my top ten list of plagues. (See here for a more complete list.)

  1. When traveling through Egypt, Abram worried that the Pharaoh couldn't resist hitting on his 70 year old wife, Sarai. So he told Sarai to say she is his sister. Then when the Pharaoh believed the lie and took Sarai into his harem, God sent a plague on the Pharaoh and his household.
    And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. Genesis 12:17

  2. God kills all Egyptian firstborn humans and animals.
    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. ... and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. Exodus 12:29-30

  3. God tells the sons of Levi (Moses, Aaron, and the other members of their tribe that were "on the Lord's side") to kill their family and friends for dancing naked around Aaron's golden calf. "And there fell of the people that day about 3000 men."
    Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men ... And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made. Exodus 32:27-35

  4. When the Israelites complained about the lack of food during the Exodus, God sent them quails to eat until it came out their noses. And then, to punish them for whining, "while the flesh was still between their teeth, the Lord smote the people with a very great plague."
    Ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? ... Therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you. ... And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day's journey on this side, and as it were a day's journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. ... And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. Numbers 11:18-33

  5. For complaining (again) about the lack of food and water, God sent "fiery serpents" to bite his chosen people, and many of them died.
    And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Numbers 21:5-6

  6. After God killed Korah, his family, and 250 innocent bystanders, the people complained saying, "ye have killed the people of the Lord." So God, who doesn't take kindly to criticism, sent a plague that killed another 14,700.
    All the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD. ... And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces ... for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun ... Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah. Numbers 16:41-50

  7. God sent a plague that killed 24,000 Israelites for "committing whoredom with the daughters of Moab." (The plague was finally stopped when Phinehas speared an Israelite man and his Moabite companion through their bellies.)
    And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab ... and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel. And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baalpeor. And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses ... And when Phinehas, ... saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand ... and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand. Numbers 25:1-9

  8. God killed 50,070 men for looking into the ark. (This was after the Philistines gave God five golden hemorrhoids as a trespass offering. See also Plague #10 below.)
    And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the LORD ... And the golden mice ... And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter. 1 Samuel 6:17-19

  9. God offers David a choice of punishments for having conducted a census (that either God or Satan requested): seven (or three) years of famine, three months fleeing from enemies, or three days of pestilence. David can't decide, so God chooses for him and sends a pestilence, killing 70,000 men (and maybe 200,000 women and children).
    And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah ... And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king ... And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people ... So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? ... So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning even to the time appointed: and there died of the people from Dan even to Beersheba seventy thousand men. 2 Samuel 24:1-13

  10. God smites the people of Ashdod with hemorrhoids "in their secret parts."
    The hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts ... And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven. 1 Samuel 5:9-12

Number 10 is my favorite. Which is yours?


v_quixotic said...

The thing I like about plague number 3 is how Aaron who led the gullible astray escaped the punishment inflicted on the gold calf worshipers . Nothing beats having friends in high places, eh?

Brian_E said...

So god created a plague that could be beaten by a tube of Preparation H? God must really hate science, as it requires him to come up with more powerful and creative plagues.

God: "Damn those humans and their science; I can't use the hemorrhoid plague anymore. I know, I'll make AIDS to deal with those pesky homosexuals that annoy me so much"

10-15 years later...

God: "Damn those humans and their science; they've got a good handle on the disease, people are using condoms (which I thought I made clear to the pope is a no-no), and now they'll probably have a cure in another 10 years! Now what?!"

Jason said...

That's a well researched list. Thanks.

McGuire said...

It's somewhat comical that God is attributed with bestowing us with Free Will, yet exercising that same free will (As illustrated here) results in a severe punishment / massacres.

Aquaria said...

Or if you don't exercise your free will (David), other people can be punished.

I think I like the David one best. It's so typical of him to fuck up like mad and get even more people killed while he scampers away scot-free. Then again, despite being one of the most loathsome people in the big book, David is my favorite, simply because he's one of the few three-dimensional characters in the whole thing.

Anon said...

I think the list of plagues is good. I think #5 shows God's character best.

You dare complain about not having the basic necessities to live? Instead of giving you bread and water, I will send fiery serpents to kill you. That'll shut you up!

But the most ingenious plague of all is not on the list. What single thing has arguably caused the most human suffering in the world? Why, it's...

The Bible!

This plague has spread everywhere. It was behind the death, destruction, and suffering experienced during the Crusades, the Inquisition, Ireland vs. Northern Ireland, witch burning, American slavery, and countless other incidents in ancient and moden times. Christians fighting non-Christians. Christians fighting Christians. With a Bible in one hand and a sword in the other.

The Bible has plagued humanity for ages, and telling from the recent CNN faith forum with Clinton and Obama, I don't think the Bible is a plague we will be rid of anytime soon. All the other plagues pale in comparison, in my opinion.

Skeptical Simsam said...

Surely plague #6 is the best. I mean, the Israelites raise a legitimate question, and he kills even more of them. Surely excellent lessons for parenting.

Jacob Hart said...

I just found this blog. My compliments. My favorite is the 50,000+ who are killed for looking in the ark. Do you think they all looked in at the same time, or did they take turns looking in and dying?