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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.”

28. And Pharaoh said unto him. This ebullition of passion, in the midst of such sore calamities, is a proof of the violent assaults by which Satan precipitates the wicked, when they are given over to a reprobate mind. The imperiousness of kings is indeed notorious, and observed by the ancient poets;130130     Cicero pro C. Rabirio Postumo, c. 11 “Nemo nostrum ignorat, etiam si experti non sumus, consuetudinem regiam. Regum autem haec sunt imperia: Animadverte et dicto pare: et praeter rogitatum si querare: et illae minae, Si te secundo lumine hic offendero, moriere.” In the Variorum edition, Elzevir, 1661, there is the following note: — “Animadverte, etc., Explicat isthaec Columna commentariis suis ad Q. Ennium.” “Animadverte, et dicto pare,” (attend, and obey my word;) and, again, “Moriere, si te secundo lumine hic offendero,” (if I meet thee here again a second day, thou shalt die.) Nor can it be doubted that Pharaoh, with his usual intemperateness, now breaks out into fierce and cruel threats; but had he not been carried away by a spirit of madness, he would not have so boldly opposed himself to God’s servant, whom he had so often known, by experience, to be endued with unconquerable power, and to be so accredited by God, as to have supreme dominion over all the elements. Hence, also, we gather, that he had not been hitherto restrained from treating Moses with severity either by kindness, or moderation, or patience; because, when the circumstances of his kingdom were still flourishing, his wrath would have been more excessive; but that he was kept back by some secret rein. But Moses shows by his answer, how completely he set at naught all this froth; for he voluntarily defies him, and by declaring that he will come before his face no more, signifies that he is not worthy that he should labor any longer in his favor. But we see that the wicked king, carried away by his fury, prophesied against the wishes of his own mind, for God returned upon his own head what he threatened against another. Although, at the same time, it must be remembered that Moses spoke thus not without authority, but by God’s command; because, unless he had been certainly taught that the last trial was come, he would have ever stood in readiness for the performance of his part. But it will presently appear from the context, that in this saying also he was the true messenger of God.

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