Summary: God makes a distinction between Moses and Pharaoh’s magicians and between Israel and Egypt through the first four plagues of the Exodus.
Moses has commanded freedom for the Israelites, but Pharaoh has simply refused. Aaron’s staff turned into a serpent to change his mind, but the Egyptian magicians did the same and Pharaoh’s heart only swelled with pride and hardened. Even when Aaron’s serpent consumed the others Pharaoh was unwilling.
Shortly afterward, Moses met Pharaoh along the banks of the Nile to perform the first of ten plagues. Aaron’s staff went into the water and made it turn to blood. All of Egypt was filled with it, and Pharaoh should have repented and let Israel go, but his heart got even harder after his own magicians could do the same. Now we come to chapter eight which holds the next three plagues:
8:1And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. 2And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs: 3And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs: 4And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants. 5And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. 6And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.
Aaron holds his staff over the river and frogs pour out and go into the Egyptians’ houses. The people can’t do anything without stumbling over frogs: they pull the blankets back, and there’s a bunch of frogs. They go to make bread and the kneading trough is full of frogs. The frogs hop on their feet while they stand and climb onto their bodies while they lie, and it’s just a constant nuisance.
Of all the things God could choose for a plague, why this? Why frogs? Why not a blood moon or poisonous snakes? I doubt anyone knows for sure, but if you’ll look closely you’ll see that these plagues come in pairs. First Yahweh proves he’s over the Nile when he turns it to blood and then he makes frogs come up out of it. In the next two plagues he’ll show he’s over the insects with lice and flies, then he shows he’s over health with disease and boils, then that he’s over the sky with hail, lightning, and locusts, and then finally that he’s over darkness and death. These plagues taken together show that Egypt is powerless in every sphere and Yahweh controls them all!
Not only that, but the plagues that follow the frogs are related to their absence. When the frogs die, the ecosystem is upset so that lice and flies can thrive without as many natural predators. The frogs were a plague, but their removal was just as much of a problem.
So, Aaron brings this plague, and Pharaoh wants to prove that he’s got power too, so he calls his magicians to come perform the same: