Some sheep were ruining their food and drink (Ezek 34:18-34:19)

“Is it not enough

For you

To feed

On the good pasture?

Must you tread down

With your feet

The rest of your pasture?

When you drink

Of clear water,

Must you foul

The rest

With your feet?

Must my sheep eat

What you have trodden

With your feet?

Must they drink

What you have fouled

With your feet?”

Some of the sheep were messing up the food supply for the other sheep. They had these wonderful pastures with plenty of food and drink. However, some of these sheep were walking all over the place keeping the grass from growing. They were also walking in the water holes, so that they became polluted. Pollution has always been a problem. In other words, Yahweh, via Ezekiel was complaining that some sheep were messing up the good clean drinking water and the lush green pastures by stomping all over them. Among the sheep of Israel, some were causing problems by fouling things up. The emphasis on their feet was an indication that the actions of these bad Israelite sheep were making it difficult for the good Israelite sheep to sustain their lives with good food and pure water.

Eleazar refuses to eat the swine food (2 Macc 6:18-6:20)

“Eleazar, one of the scribes in a high position, was a man now advanced in age and of noble presence. He was being forced to open his mouth to eat swine’s flesh. But he welcomed death with honor rather than life with pollution. He went up to the rack of his own accord. He spit out the flesh, as men ought to do who have the courage to refuse things that it is not right to taste, even for the natural love of life.”

We have the story of the elder scribe Eleazar. Eleazar was also the name of the brother of Judas that died killing an elephant in 1 Maccabees, chapter 6. This obviously is a different Eleazar who would not eat swine flesh. The prohibition against pork was so strong that he spat out the meat when it was forced into his mouth. He went happily to death rather than eat the unclean meat.

The first plague – The Nile River pollution with blood (Ex 7:14-7:24)

“Then Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh’s heart is hardened.  He refuses to let the people go.  Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water.  Stand by at the river’s brink, and take in your hands the staff that was turned into a snake.  Say to him, `Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, say, ‘Let my people go, that they may worship me in the wilderness.  But until now you have not listened.’   Thus says Yahweh, ‘By this you shall know that I am Yahweh.  See with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall be turned to blood.  The fish in the river shall die.  The river itself shall stink.  The Egyptians shall be unable to drink water from the Nile.’  Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over its rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all its pools of water, so that they may become blood.  There shall be blood throughout the whole land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”

Here comes the gory stuff, the ten plagues. Yahweh knew that Pharaoh had a hard heart, so he kept pounding away at the Egyptians.  Moses, this time alone, met Pharaoh at the Nile River bank with his staff.   You will not let my people go so I am going to show you with my magic wand.  He turns the Nile River into blood.  Then Aaron was told to stretch out his hands over all the waters in Egypt turn them into blood.  So we have a bloody mess.

“Moses and Aaron did just as Yahweh commanded.  In the sight of Pharaoh and his officials, he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile River, and all the water in the Nile River turned into blood.  The fish in the Nile died.  The Nile River stank so that the Egyptians could not drink its water.  There was blood throughout the whole land of Egypt.  But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts.  So Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as Yahweh had said. Pharaoh turned and went into his house.  He did not take even this to heart. All the Egyptians had to dig along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile River.”

However, the Egyptian magicians were able to do the same thing.  Everyone had to dig water wells for drinking water.  A natural explanation may have been the fact that the Nile River has red particles of earth in it.  Anyway, remember, it’s a miraculous story. Pharaoh was unmoved, as the water supply was polluted.