Exodus Chapter 10

At this point in the book of Exodus, Moses and Aaron had gone to Pharaoh a number of times, under the direction of the Lord. They had asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, so that they could worship God freely, but Pharaoh was not a believer in the God of Israel. Even though he was shown the power of God through the awesome plagues that Moses and Aaron had brought upon Egypt, he would not allow his heart to be softened. He had promised to let them go multiple times, but had not followed through with his word. The book of Exodus continues as follows:

1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:
2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord.
3 And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.
4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast:
5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field:
6 And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh.
7 And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?
8 And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the Lord your God: but who are they that shall go?
9 And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord.
10 And he said unto them, Let the Lord be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you.
11 Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.

Again, Moses is told to go before Pharaoh, to tell him to let the people go or be shown more of the power of God. The Lord says that the power of God was to be witnessed so that they could teach their children and further posterity that He is God. Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh in his pride. This time, Pharaoh is warned that if he failed to do what the Lord wanted, a plague of locusts would come to the people of Egypt. The Lord would cause that the locusts would devour everything that had been left behind from the previous plagues. They would be everywhere. Moses did as he was told and then left Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s servants questioned why Moses was still allowed to do these things to do and why he would not let the people go. Moses was becoming a barrier to their progress and they felt something should be done about it. His servants suggest that he allow the men to go. Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and asked them who they planned on taking with them. Moses told him they would take all of the Israelites and their flocks. Pharaoh said if he let them go with their little ones, they would be up to something that was not good, so instead he said they could take the men and go, and then they were sent away from Pharaoh.

12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left.
13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.
15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

Since Pharaoh would not allow all the people to go, the Lord told Moses to bring the locusts as he had said to Pharaoh. This he did, and the plague of locusts was very grievous.

16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you.
17 Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the Lord your God, that he may take away from me this death only.
18 And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the Lord.
19 And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.
20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.

Pharaoh quickly called Moses and Aaron and again asked that they pray to the Lord to remove the plague. Moses asked the Lord and the locusts were removed to the sea. Again, Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not let the people go.

21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.
22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

This time, the Lord had Moses bring darkness on the land, without a warning to Pharaoh. This darkness was thick and could be felt. For three days, the Egyptians were without light, but the Israelites were able to have light in their homes. I can imagine that Pharaoh was aware of the plagues affecting the Egyptians, but not affecting the Israelites. I wonder how this made a man of his stubborn pride feel. I have to wonder if he had moments where he wondered why this was, and perhaps felt something or if he was purely without understanding. The Lord really does give every opportunity for those who have turned to other Gods and Satan, to turn back and do what is right, so that they can earn a just reward.

24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.
25 And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God.
26 Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the Lord our God; and we know not with what we must serve the Lord, until we come thither.

Pharaoh told Moses that they could take the children with them, but not their flocks. Moses told him they were to take their animals as well so that they could serve the Lord and sacrifice to Him. They could not have the proper feast without a way to give sacrifice to the Lord.

27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.
28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.
29 And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.

Pharaoh continued to harden his heart and would not allow them to leave. Instead, he cast Moses out from him and told him he would not see his face again, or he would die. I think that Moses went with the knowledge that he would not come to plead with Pharaoh again. I don’t think that this was the last time they saw one another, but Moses would not be coming to ask permission any longer.

As I am studying this now, I have a feeling that these plagues occurred over a much longer period of time, then how it reads. It seems as though one thing happened right after another, but I am guessing that between the hail which destroyed much and these locusts, there was enough time for some of the plants to grow. I feel like I can have a small idea of what that plague would have been like. One year, when I was a teenager, we had a huge number of grasshoppers in my town. They seemed to be everywhere. I would walk home from school and try my best to avoid stepping on them. It was not pleasant in the least. Still I can’t quite imagine them in the number talked of here. Again, I can’t quite imagine what the darkness would have felt like either. I have felt something like a vapor of darkness. Just thinking about it gives me a sense of claustrophobia. Darkness affects us and not in the most positive ways. I am sure this was extremely difficult for the Egyptians to live with for three days, without an understanding of how it could come to an end. I am so grateful for light and the hope it brings.

This is now nine of the ten plagues of Egypt. I cannot begin to understand how the people of Egypt felt. I wonder is some had learned to fear the Lord and turn away from there false Gods. I wonder if most or all of them were so stuck in their ways that they failed to see the power of God for what it was. So many in the world today would blame these things on some coincidence or force of nature, without recognizing the power of God. As a people, we have turned to explaining away miracles and wonders in our lives. The power of God is real. It exists in our lives today. We are not exempt from the same wonders that the people experienced in Moses’ time. He is here for us, just as He was there for them. We need to take a look at our lives and recognize the tender mercies and miracles we have had. If we recognize these things with gratitude in our hearts, there will be plenty more besides. I am so grateful for the Lord’s tender mercies in my own life. I believe that the priesthood power has been restored to the earth and that righteous men of God have been given the authority to use it to further the work of the Lord.

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