Although some Biblical stories are unable to be proven with the knowledge of today’s world, many do in fact make perfect sense as the same phenomena have been seen and recorded in more recent times.
In such a case, it is important to remember the miracles in the Old Testament were used as a tool by God in a way that their timing helped His people find success in what was a cruel and prejudiced world against them. Some of the first miracles to occur were described in Exodus as Moses led the Hebrews out of oppression under the Egyptian Pharaoh and on towards the lands promised to Abraham by God.
Having previously discussed the first three Plagues of Egypt, the next three become far more intricate and exciting to study.
Chapter 4: Wild Beasts
The fourth plague is commonly thought to mean wild animals invaded the lands. There is some contention as to the exact nature of the plague, as the Hebrew word, “arov,” can in certain contexts also translate to certain mythical monsters such as the chimera or basilisk of later Greek mythology.
Because such creatures are known not to exist by modern science, it is more appropriate to discuss the plague in scientific terms as being feral animals, likely rabid or otherwise diseased.
Essentially, the plague of wild beasts was caused by the first three plagues and a general disease being upon the land. When the water of the Nile became poisoned, it was first seen by the fish, then the amphibious creatures, which in turn led to bugs and filth. The feral animals fed in the filth and became diseased, mindless Golems, which although such things are dealt with through wildlife management resources in today’s world would likely have seemed a magical plague brought upon by the wrath of God in the days of Ancient Egypt.
Chapter 5: Feral Disease upon Domesticated Stock
The Fifth Plague, that of domesticated livestock succumbing to feral diseases, is likewise explicable as they would have been exposed to the same disease as the feral beasts.
It’s impossible to say with authority what exact diseases may have infected livestock, but with modern knowledge of how pestilence spreads it seems likely there was a mix of rabies along with variants of what is now known as Mad Cow Disease and Avian Flu.
Such diseases, along with smallpox, are known to have existed in the time of Moses through medical examination of archaeological finds of mummified remains and burial pits.
Chapter 6: Infection Among People
The reason for suspecting rabies, Mad Cow, and some version of a bird flu is because they are each known to spread in plague areas, and will spread from animals to people.
Additionally, during a famine diseases such as Staph infections and more importantly, smallpox, tend to spread. People are malnourished, dehydrated, and have compromised immunities against such diseases. As portions of the population become sick, people have to interact as they conduct the jobs left open, and are in turn exposed themselves while spreading the infection to others. T
he very definition of a plague is that it spreads itself by the very nature of the problems it causes.
What Exodus Teaches Us
It goes without saying that believers understand the grace and power of God among His followers, and there may well be no other explanation of the Plagues of Egypt than they were God’s Will which led to a Chosen People in Biblical times and eventually to the birth and death of our Lord and Savior.
A more secular explanation may be that Moses was a shepherd who spent months at a time as a survivalist outdoorsman who may have seen the start of the plagues before anyone else, and understood how such things work.
Taking a secular and scientific view of the events is not meant to superimpose faith, but rather, a way to explain how things happened to people who refuse to allow God’s love to be a part of their daily world view. As likely as not, God created those plagues as a means to an end, and then provided the resources required to explain them after Jesus came and redeemed the original sin so humans can find salvation.
~ 1776 Christian