Wisdom's Corner
God Against Hathor and Ptah

Pharaoh had refused to let the Israelites leave Egypt even though God had brought four plagues on Egypt. God told Moses to tell Pharaoh that His hand was now going to be on the cattle, the horses, the asses, the camels, the herds and the flocks of the Egyptians. God would give them a murrain (some kind of disease). To show that it was God who brought the murrain, it would happen the next day and none of the Israelites animals would get the murrain (Exodus 9:1-7).

Just as God had said, all the animals got this murrain. Many of the cattle died. The camels and horses were used to carry heavy loads. With them being sick, the Egyptians would have had to carry these loads themselves or just not take the loads where they needed to go. The Egyptians sacrificed animals to their gods. They would not be able to sacrifice these animals because they believed a diseased animal was impure. In the days of Egyptian rule, many times wealth was partly estimated by how many animals a person owned. The animals were used as money in transactions many times. When the cattle died, the Egyptians lost a great deal of wealth.

Most importantly, this plague showed God to be more powerful than some of the Egyptian gods. Hathor was the goddess of love, beauty, and joy. She was pictured as giving the pharaoh divine milk to drink. And you guessed it, she was pictured as a cow. If the cows died, Hathor was sick and in trouble of dying herself. The Egyptians thought their beauty might fade away. And pharaoh would lose his godly food.

Ptah, the chief god of Memphis and considered the creator god, was symbolized by a live bull, known as the Apis bull. This bull also was believed to be the symbol of the River Nile. The Apis bull was cared for just as if he was a god. He was given special food, bathed and brushed daily, and even wore special clothes. When one died, he was mummified and buried just like a pharaoh. There is a tomb in Egypt with nothing but the burial chambers of these Apis bulls. It is estimated that it cost as much as $100,000 to bury one of these bulls. And when one died, the priests would search the entire land to find a calf which met the requirements to be the Apis bull.

With most of the cattle being dead it would be very hard to find a replacement bull and very few baby bulls would be born for several years until the Egyptians could get cattle from other nations. It is possible that the Apis bull died in this plague (if he did not, it is possible he died from the hail later). With no Apis bull, the Egyptian god Ptah would seem to be very weak. He was supposed to be the creator god.

The One True God had shown himself to be the True Creator and the only One man should look to for true spiritual food. Yet pharaoh still refused to let the Israelites leave Egypt.

Make sure you are learning the wisdom of the One True God. Until next time, keep studying your Bible. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

Mark McWhorter

Copyright 1999

Published by The Old Paths Bible School
(http://www.oldpaths.org)