Exodus 10 (NRSV)
The Eighth Plague: Locusts
Then the Lord 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 Lord.”
Here the Lord says that He hardened Pharaoh’s heart, yet in Exodus 9:34 it says that he [Pharaoh] hardened his heart. Both were true, and one does not deny the other. In hardening Pharaoh’s heart, God allowed him to have what he sinfully desired — a hard heart against the Lord and His people.
And God’s work was not only for the sake of the generation of Moses and Pharaoh; it was also for “your children and grandchildren.” God does mighty works among us so that we can encourage generations to come.
3So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, 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.
HERE is “Let My People Go” sung by Willard White. How he plays with it!
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.
7Pharaoh’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 Lord their God; do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?”
They get it. But Pharaoh’s heart is so hard.
8So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, worship the Lord 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 Lord’s festival to celebrate.”
10He said to them, “The Lord 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 Lord, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
12Then the Lord 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 Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night; when morning came, the east wind had brought the locusts.
God showed Himself greater than the Egyptian god Set, worshiped as the protector of crops.
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.
As we read of Pharaoh’s continued negative responses and the consequent disastrous results in his kingdom, I am reminded of a quote from that great philosopher, John Wayne:
“Life is hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.”
16Pharaoh hurriedly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you. 17Do forgive my sin just this once, and pray to the Lord your God that at the least he remove this deadly thing from me.”
18So he went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. 19The Lord 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 Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.
Psalm 105:34-35 (New International Version)
He spoke, and the locusts came,
grasshoppers without number;
they ate up every green thing in their land,
ate up the produce of their soil.
The Ninth Plague: Darkness
21Then the Lord 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.
Revelation 16:10-11 (New King James Version)
Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.
24Then Pharaoh summoned Moses, and said, “Go, worship the Lord. 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 Lord 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 Lord our God, and we will not know what to use to worship the Lord until we arrive there.”
27But the Lord 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.”
Psalm 105:28 (New International Version)
He sent darkness and made the land dark—
for had they not rebelled against his words?
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.