Chapter 10

  1. The Eighth Plague: Locusts

    • The Lord said to Moses, “Go back to Pharaoh because I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so they will see these miraculous signs that I am performing among them, so that you can pass this history to your descendants, and so that you will know that I am Lord.”

      • “God’s work was not only for the sake of the generation of Moses and Pharaoh; it was also for your son and your son’s son. God does mighty works among us so that we can encourage generations to come.” (Guzik)

    • Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and gave him this message from the God of the Hebrews, “How long will you refuse to submit to Me? If you don’t let My people go so that they can worship me, tomorrow I will send so many locusts into Egypt that they’ll cover the ground. These locusts will eat the crops that survived the hail, kill every tree in the field, and overrun all your houses. No one in the history of Egypt has ever witnessed anything like this.” Then Moses left.

      • Getting to the heart of the matter, God warned Pharaoh to humble himself or the worst plague of locusts ever seen would come upon Egypt. Pride was at the heart of Pharaoh’s problem; he simply didn’t want to give into God.” (Guzik)

    • Pharaoh’s officials asked him, “How long are you going to let this man cause us problems? Can’t you see all of Egypt has been destroyed? Let these men go so that they can worship their God.”

      • Some people get the idea that Pharaoh couldn’t have made the right decision even if he had wanted to because of the fact that God had hardened his heart. This passage makes clear that is not the case. Exodus 9:34 tells us that these officials had hardened their own hearts, then Exodus 10:1 tells us that God hardened the hearts of Pharaoh’s officials as well as Pharaoh’s heart. Yet, despite these facts, Exodus 10:7 tells us these officials were ready to relent. Pharaoh’s officials were ready to give in to God’s will despite their hardened hearts.

    • So Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron back and said, “Go worship your God. But who exactly will be going with you?”

    • Moses responded that they would all go. Every Hebrew from the youngest to the oldest along with all of their flocks and herds would hold a festival to the Lord.

    • Pharaoh said, “You’ll definitely need your Lord if you think I’ll let you leave with all of your families. I know exactly what you’re planning to do. I’ll only allow the men to go since that is what you have been asking all along.” Then Pharaoh threw Moses and Aaron out of the palace.

      • Guzik draws an excellent comparison between Pharaoh’s attempted compromise and the compromise we try to make with God in our own lives, “What Pharaoh wanted is what many of us want in the flesh: a way to “give in” to God, without fully submitting to Him. Sometimes we look for a way to bargain with God as an equal, instead of submitting to Him as Creator and Lord.”

      • Guzik gives more perspective, “When Moses first came to Pharaoh, Pharaoh said: Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? (Exodus 5:2). The fact that Pharaoh still would not submit to the Lord showed that he didn’t know who the Lord was yet. This was despite the fact that the Lord God had made it clear that He was:

· Greater than the god Khnum (the guardian of the Nile)

· Greater than the god Hapi (the spirit of the Nile)

· Greater than the god Osiris (who had the Nile as his bloodstream)

· Greater than the goddess Heqt (the frog-goddess of fertility)

· Greater than the goddess Hathor (a cow-like mother goddess)

· Greater than the god Imhotep (the god of medicine)

· Greater than Nut (the sky goddess)

· Able to stop the whole worship of the Egyptian gods with loathsome lice and swarms of insects

Despite all this, Pharaoh showed he still did not know the Lord God. Therefore, God would show him more.

    • Moses did as the Lord commanded, and held his staff out over the land of Egypt. The Lord caused a wind from the east to blow over the land all that day and night. By morning, the wind had brought a swarm of locusts larger than had ever been seen or ever will be seen again. The land was black with them, they devoured everything, leaving nothing green in the whole land of Egypt.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Evidently enough time had elapsed between this plague and the previous one that the wheat and emmer wheat (also called spelt) had sprouted (see 9:32).
      • This plague targeted at least two Egyptian gods.
      • Guzik notes, “Yahweh showed Himself greater than the Egyptian god Set, thought to be the protector of crops.”
Egyptian god Set (or Seth)
        • The NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “The Egyptian god Osiris was especially revered as the god who descended into the underworld and brought plant life back in the spring. This second, climactic attack on the plant life demonstrated that even Osiris was helpless before the Lord. There is no eternal life in sprouting plants.”

    • Pharaoh immediately had Moses and Aaron brought before him and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and you. Please, forgive me again and ask your God to get rid of these locusts.”

      • “Once again comes the easy confession of sin, and the shallow repentance that springs only from a desire to avert the consequences.” (Cole)

    • Moses did as Pharaoh asked and the Lord blew all the locusts away into the Red Sea with a strong west wind.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible explains, “These locusts were not the insects called locusts in North America, but a form of migratory grasshopper. Swarming out of the desert regions, they could devastate large areas of land, devouring all the plant life before them…The grasshopper swarms came from the Arabian Desert, across the Red Sea to the east.”

    • However, the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he still refused to let the Israelites go.

  1. The Ninth Plague: Darkness

    • Then the Lord told Moses to lift his hands toward heaven and He would cover Egypt in a darkness so thick they could feel it.

    • Moses obeyed and a darkness so deep descended on Egypt that they couldn’t see the person standing next to them and no one moved. This darkness lasted for three days. However, the Israelites had light in their part of the land.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible explains which Egyptian god this plague was geared toward, “The chief god of Egypt through the centuries, who appeared under several different names, was the sun. At this time he was known as Amon-Re. (He was also called Ra.) He was supreme over all other gods and was considered to be the ultimate source of life. The Lord showed that the sun’s light is completely under His control; he could shut it off from Egypt proper, while leaving it to shine in Goshen in the northeast part of the country (10:23).

Ra on the sun barque with the Bennu bird
      • “This was no normal darkness, it had a supernatural element to it that could be felt. Light is not only a physical property; it is an aspect of God’s character (God is light and in Him is no darkness at all, 1 John 1:5). In judgment, God can withdraw His presence so significantly that the void remaining is darkness which may even be felt.” (Guzik)

    • Pharaoh then summoned Moses and told him that all of the Hebrews could go worship the Lord, but he would not allow them to bring their flocks and herds.

      • “Undoubtedly, Pharaoh felt God was a hard bargainer and made the best deal for Himself that He could. Pharaoh still saw things as someone who thought he could bargain with the Creator. This shows that he still didn’t really know who the Lord God was, because He still had not submitted to Him.” (Guzik)

    • However, Moses responded, “All of our livestock must come too because we will offer sacrifices and burnt offerings and we don’t know what we’ll use to worship the Lord until we get there.”

      • “The Lord God, and the prophet Moses representing Him, was absolutely unwilling to compromise on these points. God wanted deliverance for all of Israel and for all that belonged to Israel, and was not willing to deal on the point…This reflects the response of God to every attempt we make to surrender less than everything to Him, or to willingly leave some things in bondage…” (Guzik)

    • But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he said to Moses, “Leave! Get out and make sure I never see you again or you’ll die.

    • “Very well,” said Moses, “I’ll never see you again.”

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “Pharaoh seemed to realize he had reached a point of no return. If he would not submit- the only action appropriate to what he had learned from the plagues- then he must kill the messenger. This reasoning is similar to that of the religious leaders later during the life of Christ. They refused to draw the appropriate conclusions from Jesus’ life and ministry, so they decided to kill Him. (John 11:45-53).

      • Guzik ends his commentary on this chapter by saying that the tenth and final plague is really in a league all its own. He then reminds us of the reasons God sent these plagues on Egypt in the first place:

· To answer Pharaoh’s question, Who is the Lord? (Exodus 5:2). In the plagues, God showed Himself greater than any of the false gods of Egypt

· To show the power of God through Moses (Exodus 9:16)

· To give a testimony to the children of Israel for future generations (Exodus 10:2)

· To judge the false gods – demons, really – of Egypt (Exodus 12:12, Numbers 33:4)

· To warn the nations – more than 400 years later, the Philistines remembered the Lord God of Israel as the one who plagued the Egyptians (1 Samuel 4:8)

· As a testimony of the greatness of God to Israel (Exodus 15:11, Deuteronomy 4:34)