Posted by: Rob Lester | May 19, 2010

Explaining away the ten plagues on Egypt

Greta Hort in the 1950’s attempted to explain the 10 plagues on Egypt naturalistically (without God).  She proposed that a type of red algae (along with silt) washed into the Nile releasing toxic bacteria.  This caused frogs to evacuate the river and die on the banks.  Flies and gnats fed on the corpses and created a pestilence which killed cattle and caused people to break out in boils.  This coincided with natural events such as hail, thunder, and a desert sandstorm which drove locusts into Egypt.  There are many problems with this analysis.  River silt should be brown, not red.  Red algae does not exist in the Nile and is non-toxic.  It was the wrong time of year for hailstorms/sandstorms.  Also, streams, pools, and ponds became blood—even buckets and pitchers (Ex. 7:19)!  Exod. 7:21, 24 indicate only Egyptians could not drink it, Jews seemingly could.  The ancient historian Josephus verifies this.  Atheists only accept the Biblical record so far as they can “refute” it.  Then, they dismiss it as a fable when their challenge fails.  Nice try!  They will continue to fail because the Bible is the true, infallible word of God.

Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 2, Chapter 14, Part 1



  1. What are you saying Josephus “verified”? Do you have a site?

  2. Sorry I mean “cite.” (To Josephus, not a link to the Web.)

  3. Here is the citation. Sorry I couldn’t find an exact page number. Don’t have a hard copy of the book handy right now.
    Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 2, Chapter 14, Part 1

    Thanks for the question. I have added it to the post on the blog.

  4. Thanks. I read the citation, and I see that you are using Josephus as authority for the proposition that the bloody river water was poisonous to the Egyptians but not the Hebrew slaves.

    But why do you believe that Josephus, who lived at least 1,000 years after the exodus, offers any independent verification? Why do you believe he is an authority with a source other than the text you quote and perhaps Jewish oral tradition? Would, for example, the Livy be an independent “authority” on the upbringing of Romulus and Remus or the Grimm Brothers for the historical veracity of, say, Cinderella?

    • I am not using Josephus as an authority. The authority is the Bible. Josephus simply provides a confirmation of this record. Josephus has been proven to be a historian of the highest order and very accurate in what he recorded (even by secular historians). Based upon this, it would be logical to assume he was just as accurate in what he referred to from history past as well. This is just simple logic. Not infallible, definitive proof, but reasonable.

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