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The Eighth Plague: Locusts


Then the L ord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his officials, in order that I may show these signs of mine among them, 2and that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I have made fools of the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them—so that you may know that I am the L ord.”

3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, and said to him, “Thus says the L ord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 4For if you refuse to let my people go, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country. 5They shall cover the surface of the land, so that no one will be able to see the land. They shall devour the last remnant left you after the hail, and they shall devour every tree of yours that grows in the field. 6They shall fill your houses, and the houses of all your officials and of all the Egyptians—something that neither your parents nor your grandparents have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.’ ” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh.

7 Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long shall this fellow be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the L ord their God; do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” 8So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, worship the L ord your God! But which ones are to go?” 9Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old; we will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, because we have the L ord’s festival to celebrate.” 10He said to them, “The L ord indeed will be with you, if ever I let your little ones go with you! Plainly, you have some evil purpose in mind. 11No, never! Your men may go and worship the L ord, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.

12 Then the L ord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt, so that the locusts may come upon it and eat every plant in the land, all that the hail has left.” 13So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the L ord brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night; when morning came, the east wind had brought the locusts. 14The locusts came upon all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever shall be again. 15They covered the surface of the whole land, so that the land was black; and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left; nothing green was left, no tree, no plant in the field, in all the land of Egypt. 16Pharaoh hurriedly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the L ord your God, and against you. 17Do forgive my sin just this once, and pray to the L ord your God that at the least he remove this deadly thing from me.” 18So he went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the L ord. 19The L ord changed the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea; not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt. 20But the L ord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.

The Ninth Plague: Darkness

21 Then the L ord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven so that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be felt.” 22So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was dense darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. 23People could not see one another, and for three days they could not move from where they were; but all the Israelites had light where they lived. 24Then Pharaoh summoned Moses, and said, “Go, worship the L ord. Only your flocks and your herds shall remain behind. Even your children may go with you.” 25But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings to sacrifice to the L ord our God. 26Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must choose some of them for the worship of the L ord our God, and we will not know what to use to worship the L ord until we arrive there.” 27But the L ord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was unwilling to let them go. 28Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Take care that you do not see my face again, for on the day you see my face you shall die.” 29Moses said, “Just as you say! I will never see your face again.”

1. And the Lord said. Moses passes on to another plague, whereby God took vengeance on the treachery and obstinacy of the wicked king; viz., that He gave over the remaining produce of the year, which He had spared, to be eaten and devoured by locusts. And this was no ordinary punishment, to destroy Egypt by dearth and famine, when all their corn had perished. But, before Moses proceeds to this, he again relates that he was the proclaimer of this plague, and that God had announced to him the reason why Pharaoh had so often resisted to his own injury. Therefore God says, that He had hardened his heart, in order that he might show forth these miracles and evidences of His power; for if Pharaoh had been humbled, and had yielded immediately, the contest would have been superfluous; since what would be the object of contending with a conquered and prostrate enemy? The obstinacy of the tyrant, then, in so often provoking God, opened the way to more miracles, as fire is produced by the collision of flint and iron. Thence also the silly imagination is refuted, that the heart of Pharaoh was no otherwise hardened than as the miracles were set. before his eyes; for Moses does not say that his heart was divinely hardened by the sight of the signs, but that it pleased God in this manner to manifest His power. Hence also we gather, that whatever occurred was predestinated by the sure counsel of God. For God willed to redeem His people in a singular and unusual way. That this redemption might be more conspicuous and glorious, He set up Pharaoh against himself like a rock of stone, which by its hardness might afford a cause for new and more remarkable miracles. Pharaoh was, therefore, hardened by the marvelous providence of God with this object, that the grace of His deliverance might be neither despicable nor obscure. For God regarded tits own people more than the Egyptians, as immediately appears, “that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son,” etc. For far more abundant material for thanksgiving and for celebrating the memory of their deliverance was afforded, by the fact of the Israelites having seen God’s arm stretched forth so often from heaven, and with so many prodigies. Had they been redeemed by any ordinary method, the praise due to God would soon have been forgotten. It was proper, then, that their posterity should be thus instructed by their fathers, that they might have no doubts as to the author of so illustrious a work. But it is here required of the fathers, who had been eye-witnesses of the signs, that they should be diligent and assiduous in teaching their children; and on these also, care and attention in learning is enjoined, that the recollection of God’s mercies should flourish throughout all ages. The practical effect of this doctrine is seen in Psalms 44 and Psalm 105

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