The sun dial in the royal courtyard showed it was about four hours to midnight. A lone jackal’s plaintive cry cut through the night and made the man shiver unconsciously as he made his way to the royal temple. It was dark but the inky ocean of darkness that had permeated the land for three days made it seem the sun was at its zenith. The dark blanket of night had been so thick that all forms of illumination had been smothered. It had been an impregnable wall of gloom that had been a witness to the ineffectuality of Ra, the sun god. The deity’s power was dwindling, some citizens had declared behind their priests. He quickly banished such profane thoughts from his mind.
Despite his placid features, the man was worried stiff and his emotions roiled as he hurried along, almost running. His country was teetering, the economy was a shambles and the work force was about to be liberated if the insurrection was not contained. The pockmarks all over his body were a testament to the ills that preyed on his soul. To make matters worse, his stomach was grumbling with protestations of hunger. The devastation visited upon his country had affected the food basket of the nation. There were no fish to eat because of the bloodied river and no wheat to make bread due to the army of locusts that had stripped the harvest bare. Steak was rare since most of the cattle had died of some mysterious bovine infection. These were dire times that needed desperate intervention.
Sconces lit up the temple, their flames, excited fireflies casting shadows that writhed and squirmed like tortured ghosts on the marble walls. The man, Pharaoh entered and made his way to the monumental statue that almost filled the whole temple with its presence. Bowing, before the huge monument of Amun-Ra, Pharaoh worshiped. Following Moses’s threat of the killing of all the firstborn of Egypt, his spies had told him of the latest Hebrew antics of spreading lamb’s blood on the doors of their houses in Goshen. Most of what the Hebrews did especially since Moses came on the scene was senseless, yet they had almost brought his empire to ruin. He had come to develop such healthy respect for them that dread squeezed his heart in a fierce grip as he offered supplication unto his deity. This had become a matter for the multiple deities of Egypt of which Amun-Ra the sun god was chief. However, it was troubling that every plague they had suffered defied specific gods in his country’s polytheistic pantheon. They worshiped certain gods in charge of specific phenomena and The God of Israel had rendered his gods powerless by making those phenomena go against Egypt. However, Pharaoh would not give up; he believed his gods were biding their time and would ultimately prevail. Where was the God of the Hebrews when they served his ancestors with their blood and sweat for four hundred and thirty years? No upstart deity of the slaves would make him turn back on Amun-Ra.
Far beyond the stratosphere in high places not seen by human eyes, the fallen stars congregated. In their dark but luminous coven, there was a stir of consternation in their midst. Life had been peachy in the past four hundred years they had held sway over the Nile and Egypt until the country had become a super power. However, things have changed in the last months. All their scheming to wipe out The Seed that had been prophesied from the beginning of time was giving way before them. Tonight was the final onslaught and they could not afford the hold they had over Egypt and its people to diminish after all that their powers of subterfuge had gained them. They knew they were dealing with the Power that made the universe but that did not prevent them from trying. The idea was that even if they could not prevent God’s hand they would strike back and kill the first born of the Hebrews. That way they would prove that their powers were equal to that of the King of Israel just like they did when they turned the Nile to blood and made the staff of Pharaoh’s magicians turn to snakes. Empowered by Pharaoh’s sacrifice they decided to make a stand. The honour of a god lies in having worshipers who believed in its power, without worship a god was nothing, useless…They would fight to the last.
Pharaoh was a fool, a pawn that had gotten himself entwined in a supernatural war and he would have been surprised that the gods the Egyptians usually typify with animal heads and human bodies were not as imagined. The powers behind Amun-Ra, Anubis, Seth, Osiris, Horus, Isis and the rest of the Egyptian gods were not like he and his people envisaged. They were stars that had been ostracized from heaven who now preyed on the ignorance of human souls. After his prayers, he felt almost assured, like he usually did after praying before a battle against the Hyskos. This time though, a worm of a doubt still niggled through the armour of his self assurance.
All over the cities, from Memphis to Thebes, he commandeered his magicians and priests to have a vigil, worshipping and sacrificing to their gods. Flames burned and blood flowed as the few remaining livestock were killed. With prayerful intensity the priests invoked the ancient forces of the Nile.
There was a hush over the whole land when the sun dial showed midnight. In Goshen, there had been apprehension all day. Something was about to happen that was beyond the human mind, they had been told. The momentous event would precede their liberation. But the question was, what if Moses was wrong this one time?
The dark cloud of destruction swept past Egypt. In Goshen, the angel met the blood on the doors speaking of the unfathomable mysteries of mercy and could not penetrate. The blood had formed an ark of safety around the marked ones.
In the high places, a strong whirlwind of red light blazed through. It was light that the forces of hell could not withstand or comprehend. They were scattered and pulverized to wisps of nothingness.
Egypt was a different story altogether. The powers that had been sent to earth had formed a spiritual hedge of defiance around the palace. However, God had pronounced judgement on the land and nothing could stand in the way except the blood of the lamb which prevailed over the judgement call in Goshen. The fortifications fell before the flood of the angel of death. The gods of Egypt were paralyzed, weakened, statues of impotence that stood still as the tidal wave of terror and death washed upon the shores of Egyptian lives.
Pharaoh had been tormented by the demons of insomnia and had kept awake over his son. The steady breathing of his son suddenly turned into laboured gasping. The boys back arched torturously, then he whimpered and went limp. He shouted his son’s name, shaking him violently, vigorously. The boy was dead! The king crumpled to the ground in a horrific daze. Pharaoh screamed!! On the wake of his scream rode other tormented screams that tore up the night into jagged shards of agony. In his anguish, he cursed and spat upon his gods. Amun-Ra and his league of hallowed deities were no gods. Egypt was better off without them. He as the divine monarch of Egypt could even do better. Maybe something could be said for the God of the Hebrews after all.
The heartbreaking anguish that night was such that even the Israelites almost pitied them. Bulls bellowed, dogs barked, chickens clucked. There was emotional pandemonium. The first born of every man and every beast died.
The Lord had said…
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I AM THE LORD. Exodus 12:12
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