In this portion, God reiterates His pledge to redeem His people from slavery and promises severe punishment for the Egyptian people. A contest then ensues between the will of Pharaoh. Moses and Aaron make another appeal to Pharaoh and in the process humiliate his magicians. The appeal, however, is again rejected. There follows the first seven of the ten plagues which God must inflict on the Egyptians in order to achieve the release of the Israelites. The plagues of blood, frogs, lice, swarms of insects, pestilence, boils and hail (as well as locusts, darkness and the slaying of the first-born, which are related in the next portion) demonstrate God’s ability to manipulate nature and to protect His people. Since a number of the plagues were directed against Egyptian divinities, also present here is the beginning of the war by the Israelites on polytheism.