317. Rabbi Yitzchak stated that Rabbi Yudai said, : What was the thought of the Egyptians to prevent Yisrael from being fruitful and multiplying, AND THE THOUGHT OF the minister who was appointed over them to bring this into their hearts? BECAUSE "AND HE SAID TO HIS PEOPLE," REFERS TO THEIR MINISTER? AND HE ANSWERS, But he said to them, 'know that one son will emerge from Yisrael and punishment will be done by his hand against your Elohim.'
318. For Rabbi Yochanan said, When Moses said, "And against all the Elohim of Egypt I will execute judgments" (Shemot 12:12). Dumah, the Minister of Egypt went four hundred parasangs FROM GREAT FEAR. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, 'A decree was decreed before Me, AND IT CANNOT BE RESCINDED for it is written, "Hashem shall punish the host of the high ones on high..." (Yeshayah 24:21). At that moment, his authority was removed and Dumah was appointed TO BE the minister of Gehenom, to judge the souls of the wicked there. And Rabbi Yehuda said, He was appointed over the dead.
319. Rabbi Chanina said, It is written, "Upon their Elohim Hashem inflicted punishments" (Bemidbar 33:4). AND HE ASKS, Are there punishments upon Elohim of silver or of gold or of wood or of stone? Rabbi Yosi said, Those of silver or gold melted of themselves, and those of wood rotted.
320. Rabbi Elazar said, The deity of Egypt was a lamb and the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded the execution of punishments upon it, to burn it in fire, as is written, "The carvings of their Elohim shall you burn with fire" (Devarim 7:25), in order that its odor should spread, and, "its head, with its legs, and its entrails," IN A DISRESPECTFUL WAY. Furthermore, its bones shall be thrown in the marketplace. And this was the hardest of all to Egypt. This is the meaning of punishments.
321. Rabbi Yehuda said, Upon their very Elohim DID HE EXECUTE JUDGMENTS, and this is their minister, to fulfill: "Hashem shall punish the hosts of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth" (Yeshayah 24:21). Their sages, and of course their minister, knew all this. Therefore it is written, "Come, let us deal wisely."
322. Rabbi Yochanan said, There were many idols in Egypt and the Nile RIVER was their deity, and the Holy One, blessed be He, executed judgments on all of them. Rabbi Aba said, This OPINION of Rabbi Yochanan is exact and clear, since their deities were smitten first, then the nation. The Nile also was smitten first, and the wood and stones THAT THEY WORSHIPPED. This is what is written, "That there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stones" (Shemot 7:19), that were for them their actual Elohim. And Rabbi Yitzchak said TO RABBI YOCHANAN, It is written, "the hosts of the high ones on high," yet the Nile was not on high, BUT RATHER ON THE EARTH. Rabbi Yochanan said, Because of the vast amount of water of the Nile, it appeared as though THE RIVER was on high. Rabbi Yitzchak said, Their minister was smitten first and afterwards the rest of their Elohim!
323. Rabbi Shimon, the son of Rabbi Yosi, said, The actual smiting of the nation of Egypt was done only by the sea, as is written, "There remained of them not even one" (Shemot 14:28). Before, judgments were executed upon their Elohim, and therefore it is written, "Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it shall come to pass, when any war should chance" (Shemot 1:10). They prophesied about the future according to what occurred to them. "They also join our enemies" (Ibid.); they prophesied about the supernal camps OF ANGELS that would dwell among them, "and fight against us." They prophesied about the words, "Hashem shall fight for you" (Shemot 14:14). "And so go up out of the land," as is said, "And the children of Yisrael went out with a high hand" (Ibid. 8).