Miracles in the Hebrew Bible by Myra Kahn Adams for Town Hall
Author’s Note: Readers can find all previous volumes of this series here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible.” News Flash: New Shroud of Turin event at the Museum of the Bible on July 16.
Thanks for joining us as we begin a two-part study about miracles, first in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and continuing on July 10 with the New Testament. (Fittingly, our July 3 study is about the Declaration of Independence.)
We begin with a Psalm that succinctly summarizes why our Almighty God performs miracles:
“Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples” (Psalm 77:13-14).
Psalm 77 praises God for miraculously opening the Red Sea so His people could escape Egyptian bondage and ultimately (four decades later) reach the Promised Land. The Psalm’s last verses read:
“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron” (Psalm 77:19-20).
Although God’s creation of the heavens, earth, and humankind were miracles, there were no (human) witnesses. Whereas Exodus, the Hebrew Bible’s second book, is the mothership of witnessed miracles with 15 supernatural occurrences related to God’s people leaving Egypt and providing them with food and water in the desert.
The first series of miracles were the plagues. And even as the plagues worsened, the stubborn Pharaoh refused to accept Moses’s demands that the Israelite people leave Egypt. Thus, God planned a final miracle/plague to kill first-born Egyptian males and animals — sure to make Pharaoh concede.
But before God unleashed this horror, He gave Moses and Aaron specific instructions involving sacrificing lambs and smearing their blood on the doors of their people. Then, at midnight, God would “pass over” the homes of Israelite boys and only strike the Egyptians. God also instructed Moses and Aaron to celebrate and acknowledge this freeing event forever. God said: