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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 10

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



The reason why God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, Exodus 10:1,Exodus 10:2.

Egypt threatened with locusts, Exodus 10:4.

Pharaoh’s servants persuade him to let the Israelites go, Exodus 10:7.

Pharaoh inquires of Moses who are they that shall go to serve the Lord, Exodus 10:8.

Of Moses’s answer, Exodus 10:9.

Pharaoh’s reply, Exodus 10:10,Exodus 10:11.

Locusts come over all Egypt, Exodus 10:13-15.

Pharaoh sends for Moses, and confesseth his sin, Exodus 10:16,Exodus 10:17.

Moses prays to God, Exodus 10:18.

The plague is stayed, Exodus 10:19.

Pharaoh’s heart hardened, Exodus 10:20.

The ninth plague, to wit, darkness over all Egypt, Exodus 10:22,Exodus 10:23.

Pharaoh would let Israel go, but without cattle, Exodus 10:24.

Moses will not leave a hoof behind, Exodus 10:25,Exodus 10:26.

Pharaoh hardened, Exodus 10:27; and charges Moses, upon pain of death, never to appear in his sight any more, Exodus 10:28; which also came to pass, Exodus 10:29.

Verse 5

The residue; the wheat and the rye, the staff of their lives. Every tree; the fruits and leaves of every tree.

Verse 6

Such for number, or shape, or mischievous effects, as were never seen before.

Verse 7

How long shall this man be a snare; an occasion of sin and destruction? See Exodus 23:33; Joshua 23:13.

Verse 9

A feast upon a sacrifice, wherein all are concerned, and therefore all must be present and ready to do what God requires us.

Verse 10

I wish God may be no more ready and willing to be with you, and to do you good, than I am willing to let you go.

Evil is before you; either,

1. Evil of sin. You have some ill design against me, either to stir up sedition or war against me, or utterly to depart out of my kingdom. Or rather,

2. Evil of calamity or mischief.

1. Because it is here said to be before their faces, whereas evil designs are in men’s hearts, and the fair pretenses wherewith they cover them are said to be before their faces.

2. The word of caution he gives to them, look to it, or take heed, seems to simply that he speaks not of the evil they designed against Pharaoh, but of that which they would unavoidably bring upon themselves from so potent a king, by the refusal of such fair offers, and continuing in such insolent and unreasonable demands.

Verse 11

For that ye did desire; which was not true, but only was gathered by him out of their declared intention of going to sacrifice, wherein he thought the presence of the women and children wholly unnecessary.

Verse 12

This is no unusual plague in Africa and Arabia, where, when the harvest is ripe, they frequently come in vast numbers, and upon all their corn, and what they do not eat they infect with their touch, and the moisture coming from them, and afterwards dying in great numbers, they poison the air, and cause a pestilence. So that it is no wonder that Pharaoh and his servants were so concerned for this plague, so well known to them, especially considering that this was like to be far worse than all of the same kind which they had either seen or heard of.

Verse 13

Over the land; over divers parts of the land, shaking his rod towards the several quarters of it. An east wind in those parts is a most violent and pernicious wind, Exodus 14:21; Numbers 11:31, and a dry wind, and therefore fit for the engendering of those creatures. This wind brought them from Arabia, where they are in great numbers, as we have seen, Exodus 10:12, though God miraculously increased their numbers, and their power of doing mischief.

Verse 14

Quest. How can this be true, when the same words are used of the locusts in Joel’s time?

Answ. It might be true of both in divers respects; of these for number and quality, of them for long continuance, for they lasted three or four years, when these were but for a little time; of these for Egypt, of them for Judea, where they were fixed.

Verse 15

The land was darkened; either by their flying in vast numbers, and so darkening the air, as they have ofttimes done; or by covering the green and lightsome herbs and productions of the earth with their dark and direful bodies.

They did eat every herb of the land. How could this be, when the hail had smitten every herb, and broken every tree? Exodus 9:25.

Answ. 1. There seems to have been some distance of time between these two plagues, in which space new productions might be sprouting forth, both out of the ground, and from the trees.

2. The words all and every are commonly understood of the greatest part.

Verse 16

Pharaoh called for them, because this kind of plague in itself was most pernicious, whereby whole countries had been wasted, and grievous famines and pestilences caused, and was mightily aggravated by the vengeance of God, and by the peculiar quality of these locusts, which did not only fall upon their herbs and fruits, as they use to do, but invade their very houses, Exodus 10:6, infect their meats, fill their beds, poison them with their stink and with their venomous bitings, whereby they killed many men, as it is written in Wis 16:19.

Against you; by contempt of your great and terrible works, by breach of my promise made to you, and by my denial of your just desires and commands given to me in his name, whom I now find and feel to be the almighty and sovereign God.

Verse 17

I desire no further favour, I will no more offend nor need your pardon.

This death; this deadly plague, compare 2 Kings 4:40; 2 Corinthians 11:23. Besides it did destroy the life of herbs and trees, yea, of beasts and men, either directly, or at least by consequence, in depriving them of the necessary supports of life.

Verse 19

A mighty strong west wind; Heb. a wind of the sea, i.e. coming from the sea, called there the great sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, from whence came the north-west wind, which did blow the locusts directly into the Red Sea.

Cast them, as the Hebrew word signifies, with a great noise, and with great force, so as they should never rise again to molest them.

The Red Sea; Heb. the sea of bulrushes, so called from the great number of bulrushes near its shore; or, the sea of bounds or limits, q.d. the narrow sea, whereas they could see no bounds nor shore beyond the Mediterranean Sea. It was called the Arabian Gulf, and by others the Red Sea, either from its red sand, or rather from Esau, called also Edom, which signifies red, Genesis 25:30, from whom as the adjoining country was called Edom, or red, so this was called the Red Sea.

Verse 21

It is an hyperbolical expression, such being very frequent both in Scripture and in all authors. For darkness being only a privation, cannot be properly felt, yet it might be felt in its cause, to wit, those thick and gross vapours which filled and infected the air. But the place may be rendered thus,

that there may be darkness after that (so the Hebrew vau is sometimes used, as Micah 7:13) the darkness (i.e. the darkness of the night, or the common and daily darkness) is departed or removed, and the time of the day come; for so the root from whence this word may be derived signifies, Exodus 13:22. And to this purpose the words are rendered by the Chaldee and Syriac, and some others; and the sense is, that the darkness may continue in the day-time as well as in the night.

Verse 23

They saw not one another, because these gross and moist fogs and vapours did not only quite shut out the light of the heavenly bodies, but also put out their candles, or other artificial lights, or at least so darken them that men could have no benefit by them.

From his place. Place here may be taken, either,

1. More strictly and particularly; so the sense is, The horror of that darkness was so great that they durst not remove at all, but stood or sat where the darkness found them, like men astonished or affrighted, and therefore unmovable, having their minds disturbed, being terrified with their guilty consciences, which most affect men in the dark, and with the dreadful noises which they heard, Wis 17:5, and with the apparitions of evil angels, as may seem from Psalms 78:49 where the plague of evil angels is put instead of this plague of darkness, which therefore is omitted in that place where all the rest are reckoned up. Or rather,

2. More largely, for their own houses or dwellings, for so the Hebrew word is certainly used, Exodus 16:29. So the sense is, They did not stir abroad out of their houses upon their most necessary occasions.

Object. He saith not that they could not go, but that they could not rise from their place, which may seem to limit this expression to their particular places.

Answ. The word to rise is commonly put for going about any business; and here it is a pregnant word, as they call it, and implies going in it, none arose, viz. to go or remove

from his place. And rising cannot be properly taken here for that particular posture, unless we will suppose that this darkness found all men sitting, which is absurd to imagine.

The children of Israel had light in their dwellings, whereby they might have conveyed themselves, and families, and goods away, as afterwards they did in haste; but they waited for Moses’s orders, and he for God’s command; and God intended to bring them forth, not by stealth, but in a more honourable and public manner, in spite of all opposition.

Verse 24

And Pharaoh, or therefore, or then, to wit, after the darkness was either wholly or in part removed.

Let your flocks and your herds be stayed, either as a pledge of your return after your sacrifice is ended, or as a recompence for the cattle which I have lost by your means. Let your little ones also go with you, and consequently the women, whose help and service was necessary for their little ones in divers regards.

Verse 25

Thou must give us, i.e. suffer us to take of our own stock

Verse 26

Which was not a pretence, but a real truth. For this being a solemn and extraordinary sacrifice by the express and particular appointment of God, they knew not either of what kinds, or in what number or manner their sacrifices must be offered. And for all these things they did not receive particular directions till they came to Mount Sinai.

Verse 29

Thou hast spoken well, Heb. right; not morally, for so it was very ill said; but logically, that which agrees, though not with thy duty, yet with the event and truth of the thing; for as thou hast warned me to see thee no more, so I in the name of God assure thee that thou shalt see me no more, to beg my prayers, or to be helped out of thy troubles by my means. And therefore that discourse of Moses to Pharaoh, which follows, Exodus 11:4, &c., though it be put there out of its order and proper place, as many other passages are, yet was delivered at this time, and upon occasion of these words.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Exodus 10". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/exodus-10.html. 1685.
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