What is “the botch of Egypt?”

WHAT IS “THE BOTCH OF EGYPT?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Deuteronomy 28:27 is one of God’s warnings if the nation Israel fails to obey all His laws: “The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.” What exactly is this “botch of Egypt?” We will search the Bible for answers!

We can begin by using context clues. The “botch of Egypt” is associated with other bodily afflictions; evidently, it is some type of infirmity.

According to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, the Hebrew word for “botch” is: (#H7822) שְׁחִין shechîyn, shekh-een’; “from an unused root probably meaning to burn; inflammation, i.e. an ulcer:—boil, botch.” On 11 occasions, our King James translators rendered it “boil.” They twice interpreted it as “botch.” The idea is some type of eruption of the skin, as in leprosy. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon says: “shĕchiyn masc. an inflamed ulcer, a boil… used of a kind of black leprosy endemic in Egypt, called by physicians elephantiasis, from the skin being covered with black scales, and the feet swelling up.” (Do an internet search for images of “elephantiasis.” Horrific!!)

Notice how shechîyn was handled in the King James Bible—either “boil” or “botch:”

  • Exodus 9:9: “And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.”
  • Exodus 9:10: “And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.”
  • Exodus 9:11: “And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.”
  • Leviticus 13:18: “The flesh also, in which, even in the skin thereof, was a boil, and is healed….”
  • Leviticus 13:19: “And in the place of the boil there be a white rising, or a bright spot, white, and somewhat reddish, and it be shewed to the priest….”
  • Leviticus 13:20: “And if, when the priest seeth it, behold, it be in sight lower than the skin, and the hair thereof be turned white; the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague of leprosy broken out of the boil.”
  • Leviticus 13:23: “But if the bright spot stay in his place, and spread not, it is a burning boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.”
  • Deuteronomy 28:27: “The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.”
  • Deuteronomy 28:35: “The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.”
  • 2 Kings 20:7: “And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.”
  • Job 2:7: “So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.”
  • Isaiah 38:21: “For Isaiah had said, Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaister upon the boil, and he shall recover.”

In Deuteronomy 28:27, when God warned unbelieving and disobedient Israel that He would strike them with “the botch of Egypt,” the reference to Egypt caused them to remember His harsh judgments on that nation some 40 years earlier. If Israel did not want to experience that horrible round of boils, skin disease of leprosy, they had better keep His laws! Fear of chastisement was their motivation to keep the Law!

Notice how God struck Egypt with this “botch” in Exodus 9:8-12, some four decades prior to Deuteronomy: “[8] And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. [9] And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains [inflammatory pustules or skin eruptions] upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt. [10] And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. [11] And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians. [12] And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.”

Also see:
» What are “emerods?”
» Why did Israel have to keep so many strange laws?
» What was wrong with Leah’s eyes?

2 responses to “What is “the botch of Egypt?”

  1. Pingback: What are “emerods?” | For What Saith the Scriptures?

  2. Pingback: Shine as Lights #10 | 333 Words of Grace

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