One hundred and sixty-nine times the term “plague” is used in the Bible (109 in the OT, 60 in the NT). There are the famous plagues in Exodus (blood, frogs, gnats, flies, plague on livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, plague on the Firstborn), found in chapters 7-11.
In fact, God sends the plagues one after another after Moses and Aaron had gone to Pharaoh and said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.” (Ex. 5:3). Pharaoh’s stubbornness to release God’s people earns him a whole series of nasty plagues.
Apart from the plague of boils (Ex. 9), these afflictions did not directly involve disease. Some were of the pest variety: a super-abundance of frogs, gnats, flies, and locusts. One caused water to turn to blood; another attacked livestock. One (hail) involved the weather; another a darkness “that [could] be felt.” The plague on the Firstborn was the coup de grace and revealed a God who could execute His command with great finality.
God has His means of getting His will accomplished. He shows (at times) shockingly little concern for man’s health, comfort, or safety. He uses the animal world to afflict the creation made in His image (man), controls the weather as a weapon of His will, and does not hesitate to execute swift judgment by taking the lives of Egypt’s Firstborn sons.
My, what a different God we appear to believe in today.