The second plague came in the form of frogs. Frogs were considered a good thing to the Egyptians but this plague turned what the Egyptians believed to be good into a very bad thing. The frogs in the since of being a plague would have been overwhelming. It is noted that the Egyptian magicians could make frogs come up on the land but only the Lord had the power to remove them. For this reason, Moses and Aaron were called by Pharaoh to entreat the Lord to remove the frogs. This is a crack in Pharaoh’s prideful armor. Pharaoh vowed that he would let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the Lord. It is also noted that Pharaoh used the name Jehovah (LORD). Moses told Pharaoh, name the time and that is when the frogs will be removed. This was so that Pharaoh would know that Jehovah (LORD) is God overall. Pharaoh said, tomorrow. Moses and Aaron cried out to the Lord and he did as they requested. The frogs died and the land became foul. Pharaoh went against his word and did not allow the people to go. There seemed to be a softening of Pharaoh’s prideful heart but when he saw relief from this plague he hardened his heart once again.
The Lord commanded Moses and Moses commanded Aaron to stretch out his staff and strike the dust of the earth to become gnats through all the land of Egypt. There is no telling what this insect was except that it was a nuisance. The Egyptian magicians were not able to turn dust into gnats; therefore, they said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of Elohim (God).” This was not an acknowledgment by them that the Lord, the God of the Hebrews was the one true God but was an acknowledgement by them that he is God.
Moses and Aaron went the next morning (as the Lord commanded them) to speak to Pharaoh, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.” If Pharaoh would not comply, the Lord would send swarms of flies on Pharaoh, his servants, and on Pharaoh’s people but the Hebrews living in Goshen would be spared from this plague. This is the fourth plague to strike Egypt and it should be noted that this is the first of the plagues from which the Hebrews are spared. They are being separated from the Egyptians as the Lord’s people but it is Pharaoh’s people who will endure the plague of flies. The word flies is actually inserted by the translators because the actual word used in this text is great swarms. Whatever the insect was, the land was laid waste because of the swarms.
This caused Pharaoh to call Moses and Aaron. Pharaoh was not willing to let the sons of Israel go but was willing to let them make sacrifices to their God within the land. Moses told Pharaoh that their sacrifice would be an abomination to the Egyptians and questioned Pharaoh, “Will they not stone us.” For the Egyptian, animals sacrificially slaughtered, represented an enemy of the god. (IVP BBC OT) It seems that Moses believed that the Israelite’s sacrifices, in their worship of Jehovah God would be viewed as sacrifices against the Egyptians. Pharaoh said that the sons of Israel could go to make sacrifices to their God but not far, and asked that they entreat the Lord their God on his behalf. Moses vowed to entreat the Lord to remove the flies the next day but Pharaoh was not to deal deceitfully again, by not letting the people go. However, as with the other plagues, when Pharaoh saw relief, he hardened his heart and did not let the people go.