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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.”

18. And he went out. We have stated why the holy Prophet went out from the king to pray, viz., because he was not worthy that the sacred name of God should be invoked in his presence. Therefore Moses did not offer prayer for him, because he thought him to be really converted, but that he might open God’s way for the remaining contests. If, indeed, a choice had been given to the holy man, I do not doubt that he would have been disposed by his extraordinary kindness of heart, willingly to provide for the tyrant’s safety; but, since he had heard the revelation of his desperate obstinacy, he was only intent on manifesting the power of God. Nor is there any question that he prayed under the special impulse of the Spirit, until he was assured of the final act; and the event proves that his prayers were not vainly cast into the air, because the land was immediately cleared of the locusts. We must have the same opinion with respect to the west wind as we have lately advanced respecting the opposite wind; for a temporary blast would not have been sufficient to dissipate so vast and filthy a host; but, in both cases, God testified by a visible token that he was influenced by the prayers of His servant, and that on this account the plague was stayed. It is sufficiently well known that the Arabian Gulf is called by the name of the Red Sea. By the Hebrews it is called סוף,123123     סוף, sea-weed, סופה, or tempest. In Luther’s German, Schilfmeer preserves the original meaning of the Hebrew name for the Red Sea. — W. suph, either from the reeds or rushes with which it abounds, or from its whirlwinds; since this word is used in Scripture in both senses.124124     Addition in Fr., “C’est par ou les enfans d’ Israel ont depuis passe comme nous verrons;” the children of Israel afterwards passed through it, as we shall see. If, therefore, you choose to translate it into Latin it must be called “Mare algosum et junceum,” or “turbinosum.” (The weedy and rushy sea, or the tempestuous sea.) But, since there is something monstrous and incredible in such raving obstinacy, it is expressly stated that his heart was hardened by God; that we may learn to tremble at that terrible judgment, when the wicked, seized by a spirit of madness, do not hesitate to provoke more and more that God whose name overwhelms them with terror.

Exodus 10:21-29

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.

21. Tunc dixit Jehova ad Mosen, Extende manum tuam in coelum, ut sint tenebrae super terram Aegypti, et palpet tenebras, (vel, et palpentur tenebrae.)

22. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the hind of Egypt three days:

22. Et extendit Moses manum suam in coelum: et fuerunt tenebrae caliginosae in tota terra Aegypti tribus diebus.

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.

23. Non videbat alter alterum, neque surrexerunt quisque e loco suo tribus diebus: at omnibus filiis Israel erat lux in habitaculis suis.

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.

24. Tunc accersivit Pharao Mosen, et dixit, Ite, servite Jehovae: tantum pecus vestrum et armentum vestrum remanebit: etiam parvuli vestri ibunt vobiscum.

25. And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt-offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God.

25. Dixitque Moses, Tu quoque dabis in manu nostra sacrificia et holocausta, ut faciamus Jehovae Deo nostro.

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.

26. Insuper pecudes nostrae ibunt nobiscum, non remanebit ungula: quia ex eo accipiemus ad colendum Jehovam Deum nostrum: nos autem nescimus quo colemus Jehovam, donec pervenerimus illuc.

27. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.

27. Et roboravit Jehova cor Pharaonis, neque voluit dimittere illos.

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.

28. Et dixit Pharao, Recede a me, cave tibi ne amplius videas faciem meam, qua enim die videbis faciem meam, morieris.

29. And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well; I will see thy face again no more.

29. Respondit Moses, Rectum dixisti, non videbo ultra faciem tuam.

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