Rashi writes that one of the reasons for the plague of darkness was so that all of the wicked Jews who did not want to leave Mitzrayim could be killed and the Mitzrim would not say the Jews are also being punished like them:

ולמה הביא עליהם חשך, שהיו בישראל באותו הדור רשעים, ולא היו רוצים לצאת, ומתובשלשת ימי אפלה כדי שלא יראו מצרים במפלתם ויאמרו אף הן לוקין כמונו.

The question remains, if the reason was so that the Egyptians would not say the Jews were also being punished, then wouldn't they have noticed after the plague that there were a lot less Jews in Egypt.

  • I'm not sure they interacted with the Jews that much. By then (since the plague of lice) the slavery had stopped, and the Jews lived in a segregated section of Egypt. Also, by then the Egyptians may have had other things on their mind. (on the other hand, they did notice the sheep being brought into the houses)
    – Menachem
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 2:22
  • They may have thought that the majority of the Jews had just gone to the midbar to offer the sacrifices that had been asking, since the Egyptians were powerless to stop them. Perhaps they sent out spies to look for them hoping to send out the army to bring them back but failed to find them (because there weren't any there), unlike when the people did leave and they sent out the spies to know where they were.
    – CashCow
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 10:18
  • אין מקשין על האגדות
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 0:24
  • @mevaqesh Why not?
    – anonymous
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 2:17
  • @anonymous See: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/53349/belief-in-midrashim/….
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 2:52

1 Answer 1


A number of factors come to mind; these are based off of logic and I have no sources to offer (although this would be interesting to research). First, the midrash Rashi cites also notes that the deaths of these Jews occured within the first three days of the plague, enabling those who survived the deceased to also bury them before the Egyptians saw them dying. It follows that people would notice a phenomenon as it was unfolding, but not so much post facto. Moreover, it appears logically sound to my thinking that the ruling class would not particularly take note of changes in the slave caste; this coupled with the fact that the Egyptians were surely wrapped up in their own sorrows and suffering it's not so far fetched to say that they simply never noticed.

And, most of the Jews lived in Goshen so it's possibly another reason why the Egyptians wouldn't necessarily be aware of what had happened.

I will look into it though!

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