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PLAGUE NO.8 -- LOCUSTS
Again the Lord reminds Moses that He Himself had hardened Pharaoh's heart and the hearts of his servants in order that He might publicly show His signs before them, as well as that God's great works of power might have very real effect on Israel's present generation and on generations to come, that they might realize that it was indeed the living Lord of glory who was dealing with them (vs.1-2).
Moses and Aaron again stand before Pharaoh to repeat God's demand that he should humble himself before the Lord and let Israel go. They leave him with the warning that if he still refuses, God would bring a tremendous swarm of locusts into the land of Egypt such as would cover the face of the earth, and that they would consume every green thing that was left in Egypt. They would also fill the houses, causing distress such as had never been known (vs.3-6).
The warning was alarming enough to Pharaoh's servants that they themselves appealed to Pharaoh that he would let Israel go rather than continue to suffer from God's severe inflictions (v.7). They asked him if he does not know yet that Egypt is destroyed. Therefore Pharaoh had Moses and Aaron brought back, telling them that Israel may go, but with definite reservations. Who are those who would go? Moses answered, "We will go with our young and our old; with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the Lord" (v.7). There is to be no compromise. The believer is to be for the Lord, his household is also for the Lord, and all that he possesses. Let every child of God have the same purpose of heart in this as did Moses.
But Pharaoh would not accede to this. He tried to intimidate Moses by warning him that if they all left they would run into serious trouble, and sarcastically implying that they could not depend on any real help from the Lord being with them (v.10). He would give permission only for the men to go, knowing that they would soon return when they did not have their families with them. So Moses and Aaron were driven out from Pharaoh's presence (v.11). Such is the obdurate pride of an ungodly man of the world, influenced by Satan!
At the command of the Lord Moses stretched out the rod in his hand over the land of Egypt, and the east wind blew that day and night, bringing with it a tremendous swarm of locusts such as had never been before, and of which we are told there would never again be such a scourge (v.14). All the land of Egypt suffered from this, with all their green vegetation completely eaten up (v.15).
The shock to Pharaoh was so great that he called hastily for Moses and Aaron, telling them again that he had sinned against the Lord and against Israel, pleading that they might forgive his sin this one time and pray to the Lord to take away this frightful infliction.
Through the intercession of Moses God again gave relief to Egypt, sending an exceptionally strong west wind that carried all the locusts with it to drown them in the Red Sea (v.19). However, in His sovereign government God hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he still refused to allow Israel to leave.
PLAGUE NO.9 -- DARKNESS
The ninth plague was not announced beforehand. The Lord simply tells Moses to stretch out his hand toward heaven, and a thick darkness falls over all the land of Egypt, continuing for three days, a "darkness which may be felt." It is symbolical of the spiritual darkness that unbelief prefers (John 3:19), but which men find not so pleasant when darkness is never relieved by the slightest ray of light. They deliberately choose darkness rather than light, and later find it is not what they thought it to be. The Israelites were not affected, however. At least they had light in their homes, while the Egyptians were totally confined in darkness. Of course this was miraculous, but Christians today have spiritual light while all around the world is in pathetic darkness.
Again Pharaoh called for Moses with another compromising offer. He will allow even their little children to leave with Israel, but on condition they leave their flocks and herds. Such temptations also come to us through the sinful desires of our own hearts, but we must remember that our possessions too belong to the Lord and are to be used only for Him. Moses refuses any such compromise. Sacrifices to God must be made of the animals they possessed. He insists, "Not a hoof shall be left behind" (vs.25-26).
Refusing to submit to God, Pharaoh on this occasions allows his temper to flare in bitter anger against Moses. He tells Moses to get out of his presence and not to again even see Pharaoh's face, threatening him that if he does see his face he will die. Moses answers him however with words of solemn portent, "You have spoken well, I will never see your face again!" (v.29). But it was not Moses who died: it was Pharaoh! -- a victim of his own folly.
It must be observed that Chapter 10:28-29, so that Chapter 11:1 to the middle of Chapter 11:8 took place before Chapter 10:28-29.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Exodus 10". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany