Recently, someone responded with a question to my article on the alleged contradiction between Exodus 9 and Exodus 11. She wished to know how much time elapsed between “plague 1” and “plague 10.”
Before determining how much time elapsed between those plagues, one must understand what defines “plague 1” and “plague 10.” The first nine plagues take place in Exodus 7:14-10:29. “Plague 1” (henceforth referred to as the “Blood Plague”) occurred in Exodus 7:14-25. “Plague 10” (henceforth referred to as the “Death Of Firstborn Plague”) occurred in Exodus 12:29-32.
One must now consider how much time elapsed between Exodus 7:14 (the beginning of the “Blood Plague”) and Exodus 12:29 (the beginning of the “Death Of Firstborn Plague”).
According to this article, the Bible does not tell us the answer. As a result, one can formulate many guesses to this question. From Scripture, we know that Moses was 80 years old and Aaron was 83 years old when they spoke to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:7). The hyperlinked article also states the following:
After the plagues were done, and Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go, they wandered in the desert for 40 years (Num 14:33-34, 32:13). Moses died at the end of the 40 years at the age of 120 (Deut 34:7). Therefore, if Moses was 80 at the start, wandered 40 years, and died at 120, the plagues had to have ended in under a year.
As far as the duration of the plagues, here is what we know from Scripture:
- The Blood Plague (plague 1) lasted 7 days (Exodus 7:25).
- The Darkness Plague (plague 9) lasted three days (Exodus 10:21-23).
- The Death Of Firstborn Plague (plague 10) lasted one night (Exodus 12:29-31).
Unfortunately, Scripture does not explicitly state the length of the other seven plagues. Furthermore, it does not state how much time passed between the plagues. The author of the aforementioned article states that if one was to make the average length of each plague four days (the aforementioned three are already just about at the four day average between them all), this would result in a period of forty days of plague length (said plague length something someone could refer to as a punishment). The concept of forty days of punishment does occur elsewhere in Scripture (Numbers 14:33-34, 32:13; Genesis 7:4, 12; 1 Samuel 17:16; Jonah 3:4). Therefore, it is quite possible that the plagues themselves (not including the time that elapsed between them) lasted forty days.
As it pertains to how much time elapsed between the plagues, one cannot find an exact timeframe from Scripture itself. However, as noted earlier, Moses was 80 years old when the plagues started. After the plagues ended, a period of 40 years of wandering began. Moses died at the end of them. This would mean the plagues in addition to the time between them all lasted no more than a year. As mentioned earlier, it is quite possible the plagues themselves lasted about forty days. As a result, one can conclude that the total time of the plagues and the time between them all was no less than forty days and no greater than a year. Many have attempted to answer this question (including the author of the aforementioned article that I have referred to many times in this post of mine). Thankfully, no alleged contradictions are really at stake here. This question is just a matter of examining all the evidence and formulating a well-researched response in attempting to answer this brain-boggling question.