By Mary Vee
"Are you ready to go?"
Aaron gulped the last bite of his breakfast and looked at the staff in the corner of the room. "Ready as I'll ever be."
The brothers laughed.
Aaron and Moses walked closer to the city area. Egyptians filled the marketplaces. Music and noise from the crowds grew louder as they neared the shopping area. Moses led the way to the edge of town. "Do you remember what to do?"
Aaron nodded. "God doesn't want us to go before Pharaoh, first, like the last two times?"
"No. He simply said you should stretch out your rod and strike the dust of the land. When you do, all the dust in the land will turn to lice."
"OK, here we go." Aaron stretched out his rod and hit the dust.
The dust squiggled and squirmed. Little clouds rose and swirled into the air. The air thickened with lice. Moses sighed. "Now we wait for Pharaoh to call for us. In the meantime, let's go home."
They walked back through the city. Egyptians in the marketplace looked like monkeys hopping around scratching themselves. Some cried for help, others yelled. Moses and Aaron noticed God protected them from the lice. Off in the distance a voice from Pharaoh's palace shouted, "Magicians! What has Moses done now?"
The next day, two guards came to escort Moses and Aaron to the palace. The guards shoved them into the meeting hall and toward Pharaoh.
Pharaoh squinted his eyes and glared. "Moses!" He scratched his head and his arms. "This is all your fault. You've brought this turmoil on our land. Look at the two of you. Why aren't the lice bothering you?" He reached down and scratched his legs. "I order you to call on your Lord to take these pests away."
Moses whispered to Aaron. Aaron bowed his head. "Will you let the children of Israel go to worship the Lord in the wilderness?"
Pharaoh shook his head. "You must be kidding me." He turned to a group of men standing on his right side. "Magicians, show these insignificant beings your power. Bring forth lice."
The magicians tried for an hour to make lice. They used every idea they had. Nothing worked. Pharaoh grew angrier with each failure. At last the head magician bowed before Pharaoh. "My liege, we've tried everything. We cannot make lice. This is the finger of God placed upon our land."
Pharaoh folded his arms. "Fine, Moses. Call upon your Lord to make the lice go away."
The guards grabbed Moses and Aaron and escorted them out of the palace. Once back at the Israelite camp Moses called upon God. He asked God to take the lice away. That night the lice left Egypt.
Moses woke early the next morning. He glanced out the window and noticed taskmasters heading toward the Israelite homes. "Pharaoh has hardened his heart. He's not going to let us go."
Painting by Ted Larsen American Contemporary
The plague of lice was the first plague the magicians couldn't imitate.
1. What did God want Pharaoh to do?
2. What was the third plague?
3. Why couldn't the magicians do what Pharaoh wanted them to do?
4. Did Pharaoh change his mind?
5. Why did God give Pharaoh this third chance to see his power?