I’ve been a huge fan of Hyperbole and a Half for a long time. If you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should. I am NOWHERE near as talented as that chick, but for a one shot thing, Miss Allie has inspired me to illustrate one of my informational blog posts. Yeah, it’s that bad. Yeah, I should be ashamed and I’m not.
So the plagues of Egypt. You probably heard of ‘em. There’s ten, and though I’ve known that for a long assed time, I couldn’t actually name all ten. I got stuck somewhere around locusts and boils aaaand . . . yeah, didn’t know the rest. So I went to the old standard to edumacate myself. Now, I’m going to flat out admit I’m researching this for the fiction project I’m working on. It’s this apocalyptic . . . thing, and I thought knowing how God went biblical on prideful people’s asses was important in case I decide he wants to do it again. Maybe not the same plagues mind you. I think my version of God might inflict people with a singular Kenny G song on every radio station at all hours, and the only thing McDonald’s would serve would be their limp-lettuced salads.
Onwards. The ten plagues appeared in the Old Testament, books 7 – 12 of Exodus. Pharaoh was ruling it up in Egypt at the time, probably having himself a gigantic pimp palace made with the sweat and blood of his Israelite slave task force. God, then in his Yahweh phase (he decided to change his name to a symbol a few years later to get out of a sticky recording contract, but that’s a story for another day) was not keen on his chosen people having to serve some stank-ass human. So he said, “Pharaoh, cut the shit.”
Pharaoh was an idiot.
Operation Biblical Shock and Awe commenced, first with the Plague of Blood:
I’m not really sure if the plagues were supposed to start small and get bigger over time or what, but Moses told his homeboy Aaron to raise his staff over the Nile river and turn everything to blood. Of the ten, this plague might horrify me the most (well, behind boils, but that’s because it brings back images of fourteen year old Hillary with pimples the size of hubcaps). The fish died, everything began to smell worse than a homeless man’s jock strap. Pharaoh prolly should have been cowed by this, but his expert team of experts – aka sorcerers – said to Pharaoh “Hey, that’s not so big, we can make water into blood, too” And they did. So Pharaoh gave God two big middle fingers up and told him to suck it.
This resulted in the plague that scared me the least, the Plague of Frogs:
I kinda like frogs, so I didn’t see this one as so terrible. I guess it would be if the frogs were mutant brain-eating zombie frogs, or you’re a ranidaphobe (which means a frog-a-phobe). If they WERE actually zombie frogs, well . . . that’s fucking terrifying. What I find kind of funny is rivers of blood didn’t impress Pharaoh, but the frogs? Fuck yeah. He promised Moses he’d let the Israelites go, and just like that the frogs all died. Moses was happy, thought it was over, but then Pharaoh turned around, dropped his drawers, and said PUNKED, MOSES, I WAS LYING AND SHIT.
Enter the Plague of Gnats:
The idea of gnats crawling all over my body sort of makes the bile rise in my throat. In my mouth, eyes, ears . . . down my shirt. Scuse me a minute, vomiting on a basset hound. (AND WE’RE BACK). Besides being incredibly gross, this plague was also the deadliest of them all. Gnats covered folks in every way, shape, and form. Yeah, people choked to death on gnats. And all because Pharaoh was a liar face.
As gnats weren’t insult enough, God dropped the Plague of Flies next.
Flies gross me out in the worst way, so I can imagine if I was one of Pharoah’s folks I probably would have thrown shit (yes, actual feces) at him and demanded he stop being a doucheface. Actually, scratch that, I’d have been done with the rivers of blood, but a more stalwart me would have stuck it out til the flies. The gnats went away, the flies came to stay, but at least they were polite enough to leave the Israelites home, the Land of Goshen, alone. Inevitably, Pharaoh went to Moses and said OKAY LOOK YOU GUYS WIN, SERIOUSLY I’LL LET YOUR PEOPLE GO. And Moses once again believed him. Sorry, Moses, you’re looking like a sucker here, cause guess what. Pharaoh was -lying-.
And so the Plague of Pestilence hit:
This didn’t take out people, only livestock, and only Egyptian livestock at that. It was a very choosy Mad Cow Disease, it seems. The Egyptians’ cows, goats, and sheep all dropped dead, apparently after going on a homicidal rampage if my art is any indication. This probably should have told Pharaoh that shit was getting real, but he was too stubborn to relent. He really needed a new pair of Nikes, and Israelite labor was too good to pass up. So he said “No, Moses. I’m not going to be reasonable. Your frogs were pretty good, but this dead sheep thing is just tacky. Go away.”
So Moses and Aaron (Aaron was Moses’s brother, sort of like the Robin to Moses’s Batman only infinitely awesomer than Robin ever was or ever will be) picked up some dirt and threw it in the air. Because dirt, as we know, causes the Plague of Boils.
This one understandably freaked Pharaoh out, especially when his sorcerers – who’d pulled that neat water to blood trick early on – were afflicted with the boils and couldn’t heal themselves, never mind anyone else. It probably looked like that scene from Planet Terror when Tarantino’s junk fell off. Remember those pus filled nodules? Ewwwww.
By then, you have to figure God was pretty pissed off. He’d sent seven plagues down and Pharaoh had lied to Him at least twice, staunchly refused to do His bidding twice, and ignored Moses’ requests the other times. By all accounts God should have just shit a brick on Egypt and walked away, but he wanted to prove his sovereignty to Pharaoh so that he might, you know, have some other converts. Not such a bad plan really. So he sent the Plague of Hail:
Which was not the small, compact hail that will gently tap on your windows on cold February nights. It was like FUCKALL hail that was laced with fire. Yeah, I dunno why it didn’t melt the shit out of the hail, but the best answer that comes to mind is “Because God said so”. It rained down onto the earth, avoiding the Land of Goshen yet again (if I were an Egyptian, I so would have been hanging out there, by the way. It’s the only smart thing to do). Pharaoh pleaded for mercy from the enormous fiery death storm, said he was a sinner, and vowed yet again to let the Israelites go.
Multiple choice time!
A) Was telling the truth because he’s an honest, intelligent Pharaoh!
B) Was lying! Again!
C) All of the above! If you pick this you’re spectacularly stupid!
Plague number eight was the Plague of Locusts:
God was just done. Pharaoh’d been a tool, wasn’t impressed by any of the previous plagues, and was showing signs of mental ineptitude possibly brought about by repeated shakings from an Egyptian au pair. So He said “I’m gonna harden Pharaoh’s heart against me so he keeps refusing to give, and then I’m going to wreck his shit up with my other plagues.” Remember how the cows were mostly dead, thus leaving Egypt full of unhappy vegetarians? That wasn’t punishment enough. The locusts swarmed down in an angry black cloud to eat all the plants. So really, a balanced Egyptian meal now consisted of rocks, an old shoelace, and a few broken Tinker Toy bits.
Once that was done, the Plague of Darkness began:
. . . and it lasted for three days. Egyptian life was officially in the crapper. There was no food and now no light to do anything by. Pharaoh started losing his shit for real – this was a huge slight against the Egyptian sun god Ra – and he told Moses “look, the Israelites can go? But uhhh, can you leave your livestock behind? We got no food, yo.” Moses refused, and Pharaoh threatened to have him executed if Moses ever showed his face again. Moses said “I actually won’t see you again,” and very likely put some sunglasses on and slowly walked away while epic music played in the background. If this scene had been directed by Michael Bay, there would have been an explosion and Moses wouldn’t have looked at it.
The tenth and final plague hit next, and that was the Plague of the Firstborn:
God commanded Moses to tell all of the Israelites “mark your door with lamb’s blood so this plague skips over you”, and because they were smarter than Pharaoh (honestly, their left testicles alone were smarter than Pharaoh), they did as they were told. Every first born in Egypt died then, from man to beast, including Pharaoh’s own son. This finally crippled him, as he feared for his own life next. It was like he had to face his mortality in the wake of the most serious beatdown ever. The UFC’s got nothing on this. He told Moses to leave, to take his people with him, and to not let the door hit them on their collective asses on the way out. The Israelites figured Pharaoh was enough of a prick to change his mind if they waited too long, so that very night Moses walked them out of Egypt and towards the promised land.
Hopefully this depiction (and blatant lack of art skill) didn’t offend anyone too much. I don’t mean to be irreverent, only I do a little, and I suppose someone could get in ma grill for talking smack about a pretty major portion of the Old Testament. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you feel the need, well . . . go nuts.
But you should know me and God? We’re like this. And I got a Kenny G plague that will really knock your socks off if you push me.