Old Testament


The Plagues – Discussion Questions

Interpretation Questions:

  1. What are the major differences between the plagues narratives in J and P?
  2. What is the purpose of the plagues, for J, for P, and for the canonical text?
  3. How should we think about the moral question regarding Pharaoh’s free will?
  4. Why are naturalistic explanations of the plagues misguided?

Application Questions:

  1. God in the Yahwist source (J) seems to have less control over the world than God in the Priestly source (P). How can we make sense of these conflicting images of God’s guiding hand in the world?
  2. The story of the plagues draws meaning from natural disasters.  How have people ascribed meaning to similar “plagues” in modern days, and how do you understand those explanations?
  3. What do the plagues say about the acceptability of violence when it is used to accomplish good aims? Do the ends justify the means in the Bible?  Do they still?
Yale Bible Study