Edward John Poynter, Israel in Egypt, 1867
My local classical radio station has been promoting the Texas Choral Consort's upcoming performance of George Frideric Handel's "Israel in Egypt" by breathlessly repeating lines from the oratorio regarding the Biblical plagues visited upon Egypt in the Old Testament book of Exodus. Excerpts from a recorded performance were played last night on the Classically Austin program as a way of promoting the concert. I have to admit to not ever having heard this oratorio before, and I was struck by the passages.
The Morning Prayer readings I use featured the first half Psalm 105 today (1-22). But I have been using the Evening Prayer readings since Advent, because the Psalmody is different, consisting either of different psalms than the morning readings, or of the second half of longer ones. Today's example was Psalm 105:1-22 for Morning Prayer, and Psalm 105:23-45 for Evening Prayer.
Now, in your mind's ear, hear the pleasant sounds you equate with Handel's more popular oratorio "Messiah", but insert these words from the latter half of Psalm 105 instead.
Praise ye the Lord indeed, and wonder at the synchronicity of it all.Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.
He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.
He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen.
They shewed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.
He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.
He turned their waters into blood, and slew their fish.
Their land brought forth frogs in abundance, in the chambers of their kings.
He spake, and there came divers sorts of flies, and lice in all their coasts.
He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land.
He smote their vines also and their fig trees; and brake the trees of their coasts.
He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillers, and that without number,
And did eat up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of their ground.
He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.
He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.
Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them fell upon them.
He spread a cloud for a covering; and fire to give light in the night.
The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.
For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant.
And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness:
And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;
That they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. Praise ye the LORD.