Christian Platonism

Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom

Philo – Second Plague: Frogs

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Plague of Frogs (Exodus 8:1–15)

[1] And 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.
[2] And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs:
[3] And 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:
[4] And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.
[5] And 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.
[6] And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.
[7] And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt.
[8] Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the LORD, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the LORD.
[9] And Moses said unto Pharaoh, Glory over me: when shall I intreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, to destroy the frogs from thee and thy houses, that they may remain in the river only?
[10] And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God.
[11] And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only.
[12] And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh: and Moses cried unto the LORD because of the frogs which he had brought against Pharaoh.
[13] And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the villages, and out of the fields.
[14] And they gathered them together upon heaps: and the land stank.
[15] But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

Philo, The Sacrifices of Abel and Cain (De Sacrificiis) 69–71

(69) But Pharaoh, the squanderer of all things, not being able himself to receive the conception of virtues unconnected with time, inasmuch as he was mutilated as to the eyes of his soul, by which alone incorporeal natures are comprehended, would not endure to be benefited by virtues unconnected with time; but being weighed down by soulless opinions, I mean here by the frogs, animals which utter a sound and noise wholly void and destitute of reality, when Moses says, “appoint a time to me when I may pray for you and for your servants that God will make the frogs to disappear,”[Ex 8:9] though he ought, as he was in very imminent necessity, to have said, Pray this moment, nevertheless postponed it, saying, “Pray to-morrow,” in order that he might in every case preserve the folly of his impiety. (70) And this happens to nearly all those men who hesitate and vacillate between two opinions, even if they do not confess it in express words. For when any thing unexpected befalls them, inasmuch as they did not previously believe firmly in God the Saviour, they take refuge in the assistance of created things, of physicians, of herbs, of the composition of drugs, in a carefully considered plan of life, and in any other aid which may be derived from mortal man. And if any one were to say to them, “Flee, O ye wretched men, to Him who is the only physician for the diseases of the soul, and discard all this falsely called assistance which ye are seeking to find in the creature who is subject to the same sufferings as yourselves,” they would laugh at and ridicule him; saying, “Tell us this to-morrow.” Since, even if any thing were to happen to them they would not supplicate the Deity to avert the present evils from them.  (71) But when it is found that there is no relief from man, and when even all the remedies are proved to be injurious, then in great perplexity they renounce all ideas of assistance from other quarters, and, like wretched men as they are and sorely against their will, they reluctantly and tardily flee to the only Saviour, God.

Source: Yonge, Charles Duke.  The Works of Philo. Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition. David M. Scholer, editor. Hendrickson Publishers, 1993. ISBN 0943575931.

Written by John Uebersax

March 29, 2012 at 4:29 pm

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