Exodus 10



                                    THE EIGHTH PLAGUE - LOCUSTS




vs. 1-20 – “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” - The “fierceness of man”was being “turned to God’s praise.” It

resulted from the obstinacy of Pharaoh that more and greater miracles were wrought,

more wonderful signs shown, and that by these means both the Israelites themselves, and

the heathen nations in contact with them, were the more deeply impressed.  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.” - The Psalms show how after generations dwelt in thought

upon the memory of the great deeds done in Egypt and the deliverance wrought there.

(See especially Psalms 78;105 and 106; but compare also Psalm 68:6-7; 77:14-20;

81:5-6; 114:1-3; 135:8-9; 136:10-15).  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?” - The confession recorded

in ch. 9:27 had been a distinct act of self-humiliation; but it had been cancelled by

subsequent self-assertion (ib. 34-35). And, moreover, humility of speech was not

what God had been for months requiring of Pharaoh, but submission in act. He would

not really “humble himself” until he gave the oft-demanded permission to the Israelites,

that they might depart from Egypt. -  “let my people go, that they may serve me.  

Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the

locusts into thy coast” - Again a warning is given, and a space of time interposed,

during which the king may repent and submit himself, if he chooses. “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” - When their

swarms appear,” writes Volney, “everything green vanishes instantaneously from the

fields, as if a curtain were rolled up; the trees and plants stand leafless, and nothing is seen

but naked boughs and stalks.” -“And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all

thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians” - An older traveler, Beauplan, writes

as follows: — “In June 1646, at Novgorod, it was prodigious to behold them, because they

were hatched there that spring, and being as yet scarce able to fly, the ground was all

covered, and the air so full of them that I could not eat in my chamber without a candle, all

the houses being full of them, even the stables, barns, chambers, garrets, and cellars. I caused

cannon-powder and sulphur to be burnt to expel them, but all to no purpose; for when

the door was opened, an infinite number came in, and the others went fluttering about; and it

was a troublesome thing, when a man went abroad, to be hit on the face by those creatures,

on the nose, eyes, or cheeks, so that there was no opening one’s mouth but some would get

in. Yet all this was nothing; for when we were to eat they gave us no respite; and when we

went to cut a piece of meat, we cut a locust with it, and when a man opened his mouth to put

in a morsel, he was sure to chew one of them.” Oriental houses, it is to be borne in mind, have

no better protection than lattice-work in the windows, so that locusts have free access to the

apartments, even when the doers are shut.  -  “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.” - Moses did not wait to learn what effect

his announcement would have. He knew “that Pharaoh would not fear the Lord” -  

(ch. 9:30). “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?” - This marks quite a new phase in the proceedings.

Hitherto the courtiers generally had been dumb. Once the magicians had ventured to

say“This is the finger of God” (ch.  8:19); but otherwise the entire court had been

passive, and left the king to himself. They are even said to have “hardened their

hearts like him (ch. 9:34). But now at last they break their silence and interfere.

Having lost most of their cattle, and a large part of the year’s crops, the great men became

alarmed — they were large landed proprietors, and the destruction of the wheat and doora

crops would seriously impoverish, if not actually ruin them. Moreover, it is to be noted that

they interfere before the plague has begun, when it is simply threatened, which shows that

they had come to believe in the power of Moses. “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?” - It seems somewhat strange that the king had not yet clearly

understood what the demand made of him was. But perhaps he had not cared to know,

since he had had no intention of granting it.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.  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.” You entertain the evil design of robbing me of my slaves — a design

which I shall not allow you to carry out. There is no direct threat, only an indirect one, implied

in “Look to it.”  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.” - Literally, “One

drove them out.” Pharaoh’s manifest displeasure was an indication to the court officials

that he wished the interview ended, and as the brothers did not at once voluntarily quit the

presence, an officer thrust them out. This was an insult not previously offered them, and

shows how Pharaoh’s rage increased as he saw more and more clearly that he

would have to yield and allow the departure of the entire nation.  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.  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.  And the

locust 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.  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. Then Pharaoh

called for Moses and Aaron in haste” - Literally, as in the margin, “hasted to call

 for Moses and Aaron” He had made similar appeals before (chps. 8:8,25; 9:27),

but never with such haste and urgency. Evidently, the locusts were felt as a severer

infliction than any previous one.  (as Bro. Gaither Saturley used to say “its too late to

shut the gate after the horse is out” –CY – 2010) – “and he said, I have sinned against

the LORD your God, and against you” - “against the Lord,” in disobeying His

commands; “against. you,” in making you premises and then refusing to keep them

(chps. 8:15,32; 9:34-35).  Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this

once, and entreat the LORD your God, that He may take away from me this death

only” - Pharaoh kept this promise. He did not ask any more for the removal of a plague.

this death only” -  i.e. “this fatal visitation” — this visitation, which, by producing famine,

causes numerous deaths in a nation. Pharaoh feels now, as his courtiers had felt when the

plague was first threatened, that “Egypt is destroyed” (v. 7).  (All this destruction because

of the sins of the leader – CY  - 2010) – “And he went out from Pharaoh, and entreated

the LORD” - If anything could have touched the dull and hard heart of the king, it would

have been the gentleness and magnanimity shown by Moses in uttering no word of reproach,

making no conditions, but simply granting his request as soon as it was made, and obtaining

the removal of the plague.  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” – The sudden and entire departure of the

locusts is as remarkable as their coming. “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart,

so that he would not let the children of Israel go.”  Pharaoh’s prolonged obstinacy

and impenitence was receiving aggravation by the working of the just laws of God.


Notwithstanding his self-condemnation and acknowledgment of the righteousness of

God in all the judgments that had been sent upon him (ch. 9:27), Pharaoh no sooner found

that the seventh plague had ceased than he reverted to his old obstinacy. He both willully

hardened his own heart (ch.  9:34); and God, by the unfailing operation of His moral laws,

further blunted or hardened it (v.1). Accordingly, it became necessary that his stubbornness

should be punished by one other severe infliction. Locusts, God’s “great army,” as they

are elsewhere called (Joel 2:25), were the instrument chosen, so that once more the

judgment should seem to come from heaven, and that it should be exactly fitted to

complete the destruction which the hail had left unaccomplished (v. 5). Locusts, when

they come in full force, are among the most terrible of all the judgments that can befall a

country. “A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the

land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a

desolate wilderness” (Joel 2:3). They destroy every atom of foliage — crops,

vegetables, shrubs, trees — even the bark of the fruit trees suffers — the stems are injured,

the smaller branches completely peeled and “made white” (Joel 1:7). When Moses

threatened this infliction, his words produced at once a great effect. The officers

of the court — “Pharaoh’s servants,” as they are called — for the first time

endeavoured to exert an influence over the king — “Let the men go,” they said;

knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?” (v. 7). And the king so far yielded

that — also for the first time — he let himself be influenced by the mere threat of a

judgment. He would have let the Israelites depart, before the locusts came, if only they

would have left their “little ones” behind them (vs. 8-11). Moses, however, could not

consent to this limitation; and so the plague came in fall severity the locusts covered

the whole face of the earth, so that the land was darkened with them (v.15); and all that

the hail had left, including the whole of the wheat and doora harvests, was destroyed.

Then Pharaoh made fresh acknowledgment of his sin, and fresh appeals for intercession

with the old result that the plague was removed, and that he remained as

 obdurate as ever (vs. 16-20) – ( A lesson for us all – CY – 2010).




      PERPETUAL REMEMBRANCE.  (vs. 1 -2)  Man’s forgetfulness of God’s

      benefits is one of the saddest features of his existing condition and character.

      He needs continual urging and exhortation to the duty of remembering them.





ü      Temporal benefits. Life, strength, health, intellect, the power to act,

      the capacity to enjoy, the ability to think, speak, write, are God’s gifts,

                        bestowed lavishly on the human race, and in civilized countries

                        possessed in some measure by almost every member of the community.                                    

                        And, for the most part, they are possessed continuously. At any moment                                   

                        any one of them might be withdrawn; but, as it pleases God to make them                                 

                        constant, they are scarcely viewed as gifts at all. The Church would have                                  

                        men thank God, at least twice a day, for their “creation, preservation, and                                 

                        all the blessings of this life.” But how few perform this duty! Creation,

                        preservation, daily sustenance, even health, are taken as matters of course,

                        which come to us naturally; not considered to be, as they are, precious                         

                        gifts bestowed upon us by God.


ü      Spiritual benefits. Atonement, redemption, reconciliation, effected for

                        us once for all by our Lord’s death upon the Cross; and pardon, assisting

                        grace, spiritual strength, given us continually, are equally ignored and

                        forgotten. At any rate, the lively sense of them is wanting. Few say,

                        with David, Constantly, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is                         

                        within me bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and

                        forget not all His benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who                         

                        healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction;

                        who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who                         

                        satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed                                  

                        like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5).



      life from an accident that might have been fatal; recovers from an illness in

      which his life was despaired of; is awakened suddenly to a sense of religion

      when he had long gone on in Coldness and utter deadness; and he thinks at

      first that nothing can ever take the thought of the blessing which he has

      received out of his remembrance. He is ready to exclaim, ten times a day,

      “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what He hath

      done for my soul!” (Psalm 66:16)  But soon all fades away and grows dim;

      the vivid remembrance passes from him; he thinks less and less of what seems

            now a distant time; he neglects to speak of it, even to his children. Instead

            of “telling in the ears of his son, and of his son’s son”, (v. 2)  what things

            God wrought for him in the old timer he does not so much as think of them.

            Very offensive to God must be this forgetfulness. He works His works of

            mercy and of power for the very purpose “that men may tell of them and

            have them in remembrance,” may “teach them to their sons and their sons’

            sons,” may keep them “as tokens upon their hands, and as frontlets

            between their eyes,” may “tell them to the following generation.”




      instituted the Passover, and other Jewish feasts, that the memory of His great    

      mercies to His people in Egypt and the wilderness should not pass away

      (ch.  12:24-27). So the Christian Church has observed Christmas Day, Good   

      Friday, Ascension Day. Such occasions are properly called “commemorations.”           

      And individuals may well follow the Church, by commemorating important        

      events in their own lives.  (For myself below:    

ü      Sept. 4th – survived a bad wreck

ü      Sept. 5th – birthday,

ü      July 18th – day I was saved, also my father’s birthday

ü      Oct. 5th – birth of first child, a daughter

ü      Oct. 11th – wedding day

ü      May 31st – birth of son

ü      April 24th  - birth of last child, a daughter – CY – 2010)

     (I would like to encourage each person to make a list – just as we

      all have “plagues of our own heart” [I Kings 8:38] so we have our

      high points and blessings in our lives – may we give thanks- CY)



            (vs. 3-6) - God endureth yet daily.” His forbearance and long-suffering are       

            wonderful. Yet they have a limit. God will not proceed to judgment —



      Pharaoh had been first warned (ch. 5:3), then shown a sign (ch. 7:10-12); after this,

      punished by seven distinct plagues, each of which was well calculated to strike terror

      into the soul, and thereby to stir it to repentance. He had been told by his own

      magicians that one of them, at any rate, could be ascribed to nothing but “the

      finger  of God” (ch. 8:19). He had been impressed, alarmed, humbled so

            far as to make confession of sin (ch. 9:27), and to promise three several times

            that he would let the Israelites depart from Egypt (chps. 8:8,28;  9:28). But all

            had been of no avail. No sooner was a plague removed at his humble entreaty

            than he resumed all his old pride and arrogance, retracted his promise, and       

            showed himself as stiff-necked as at the first. The time during which his trial

            had lasted, and God’s patience endured, must have been more than a year —   

            surely ample opportunity!



      REPENT.  What could have been done more in my vineyard, that I have

      not done to it?” God asks in Isaiah 5:4. And what more could He have

            done to turn Pharaoh from his evil ways, that he had not done on this occasion?            

            Exhortations, warnings, miracles, light plagues, heavy plagues, had all been

            tried, and no real, permanent impression made.  The worst of all was, that when            

            some kind of impression was made, no good result ensued. Fear — abject,

            servile, cowardly fear — was the dominant feeling aroused; and even this did

            not last, but disappeared the moment that the plague was removed. Pharaoh

            was thus constantly “sinning yet more” (ch. 9:34). Instead of improving under

            the chastening hand of God, he was continually growing worse. His heart was

            becoming harder. His reformation was more hopeless.




      through Pharaoh’s resistance to His will, and the final failure of his

            resistance, His own name should be glorified and “declared throughout all

            the earth” (ch. 9:16). It required a period of some length — a tolerably

            prolonged contest — to rivet the attention both of the Egyptians generally,

            and of the surrounding nations. After somewhat more than a year this result

            had been attained. There was, consequently, no need of further delay; and the

            last three plagues, which followed rapidly the one upon the other, were of the    

            nature of judgments.


            (vs. 7-11) - It is impossible to say what effect the opposition and remonstrances

            of his nobles and chief officers might not have had upon Pharaoh, if they had

            been persistently offered from the first. But his magicians had for some

            time aided and abetted his resistance to God’s will, as declared by Moses;

            and had even used the arts whereof they were masters to make, the

            miracles which Moses wrought seem trifles. And the rest of the Court

            officials had held their peace, neither actively supporting the monarch, nor

            opposing him. It was only when the land had been afflicted by seven

            plagues, and an eighth was impending, that they summoned courage to

            express disapproval of the king’s past conduct, and to recommend a

            different course. “How long shall this man be a snare unto us? Let the

            men go,” they said. But the advice came too late. Pharaoh had, so to speak,

            committed himself. He had engaged in a contest from which he could not

            retire without disgrace. He had become heated and hardened; and, the

            more the conviction came home to him that he must yield the main

            demand, the more did it seem to him a point of honor not to grant the

            whole of what had been asked. But practically, this was the same thing as

            granting nothing, since Moses would not be content with less than the

            whole. The interposition of the Court officials was therefore futile. Let

            those whose position entitles them to offer advice to men in power bear in

            mind four things:


ü      The importance of promptness in bringing their influence to bear;

ü      he advantage of taking a consistent line from first to last;

ü      the danger of inaction and neutrality; and

ü      the necessity of pressing their advice when it has been once given, and

                        of not allowing it to be set aside. If the “servants of Pharaoh” had

                         followed up the interposition recorded in v. 7 by further representations

                        and remonstrances, they would have had some slight chance of

                        producing an effect. But a single isolated remonstrance was valueless.



             It is a fearful thing to fall into the bands of the living God.” (Hebrews

            10:31) “Our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29) - “If the wicked

            turn not, God will whet His sword; He hath bent his bow and made it

            ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he

            ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors” (Psalm 7:12-13). Every

            calamity which can visit man is at his disposal. God’s punishments are



  • BECAUSE HE IS OMNIPOTENT. He can smite with a thousand

            weapons — with all the varieties of physical pain — aches, sores, wounds,

            boils, nerve affections, inflammation, short breath, imperfect heart action,

            faintings, palpitations, weakness, cramps, chills, shiverings — with mental

            sufferings, bad spirits, depression, despondency, grief, anguish, fear, want

            of brain power, loss of self-controls distaste for exertion, etc.; with

            misfortunes — sickness, mutilation, loss of friends, ill-health, bereavement,

            death. He can accumulate sorrows, reiterate blows, allow no respite,

            proceed from bad to worse, utterly crush and destroy those who have

            offended him and made themselves his enemies.


  • BECAUSE HE IS ABSOLUTELY JUST. God’s judgments are the

            outcome of his justice, and therefore most terrible. What have we not

            deserved at His hands? If, after all His gentle teaching, all His mild

            persuading, the preaching of His ministers, the promptings of His Holy

            Spirit, the warnings furnished by the circumstances of life, the special

            chastisements sent to evoke repentance, men continue obdurate — what

            remains but a “fearful looking for of judgment and of fiery indignation,

            which shall devour the adversaries”? (Hebrews 10:27.) If each sin

            committed is to receive its full, due, and appropriate penalty, what

            suffering can be sufficient? Even in this life, the vengeances that have

            overtaken the impenitent, have sometimes been most fearful; what must the

            full tale be if we take in the consideration of another?



            God in His Word has plainly, clearly, unmistakably, over and over again,

            declared that the impenitent sinner shall be punished everlastingly. In vain

            men attempt to escape the manifest force of the words and to turn them to

            another meaning. As surely as the life of the blessed is never-ending, so is

            the death” of the wicked. Vainly says one, that he would willingly give up

            his hope of everlasting life, if so be that by such sacrifice he could end the

            eternal sufferings of the lost ones. It is not what man feels, what he thinks

            he would do, or even what he would actually do, were it in his power, that

            proves anything; the question is one of fact. God tells us what He is about

            to do, and He will assuredly do it, whatever we may think or feel. “These

            (the wicked) shall go into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into

            life everlasting” (Matthew 25:46). Oh! terrible voice of most just

            judgment which shall be pronounced on those to whom it shall be said,

            “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil

            and his angels” (Matthew 25:41)] The crowning terror of the judgment

            of God is the perpetuity which he has declared attaches to it.



            AND REMOVING JUDGMENTS.  (vs. 16-20)  God’s footsteps are not

            known. Since Eden was lost to us it has pleased Him, for inscrutable reasons,

            to withdraw Himself behind the screen of nature, and to work out His purposes,

            in the main, through natural agencies. He punishes idleness and imprudence by  

            poverty and contempt; intemperance and uncleanness, by disease; inordinate    

            ambition, by collapse of schemes, loss of battles, deposition, exile, early death.

            Civil government is one of the agencies which He uses for punishing a whole     

            class of offences; hygienic laws are another. It is comparatively seldom that

            He descends visibly to judgment, as when He burnt up the cities of the plains.

            (I recommend:  arkdiscovery.com – click on Sodom/Gommorahclick on

            Red Sea Crossing – for interesting data -  CY – 2010).  So, even when

            He was miraculously punishing Egypt and Pharaoh, He used, as far as was        

            possible, the agency of nature. Frog, mosquitoes, beetles, thunder, hail, locusts,            

            worked His will — natural agents, suited to the season and the country —

            only known by faith to have come at his bidding, and departed when He

            gave the order. And he brought the locusts and took them away, by a wind. So

            the temporal punishments of the wicked came constantly along the ordinary

            channels of life, rash speculation producing bankruptcy; profligacy, disease;      

            dishonesty, distrust; ill-temper, general aversion. Men curse their ill-luck when   

            calamity comes on them, and attribute to chance what is really the doing of

            God’s retributive hand. The east wind, they say, brought the locusts on them;

            but they do not ask who brought the east wind out of His treasury. God uses    

            natural means also to remove judgments. “A wind takes the locusts away.” A            

            severe winter stops a pestilence. An invasion of their own territory recalls          

            devastating hordes to its defense, and frees the land which they were ravaging.  

            Reaction sets in when revolution goes too far, and the guillotine makes short

            work of the revolutionists. Want stimulates industry, and industry removes the   

            pressure of want. Even when men’s prayers are manifestly answered by the

            cessation of drought, or rain, or the recovery from sickness of one given

            over by the physicians, the change comes about in a natural way. A little

            cloud rises up out of the deep, and overspreads the heavens, and the

            drought is gone. The wind shifts a few points, and the “plague of rain”

            ceases. The fever abates, little by little, the patient finds that he can take

            nourishment; so the crisis is past, and nature, or “the strength of his

            constitution,” as men say, has saved him. The changes are natural ones; but

            God, who is behind nature, has caused the changes, and, as much as

            miracles, they are His work.



                                    THE NINTH PLAGUE - DARKNESS


vs. 21-29 – “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. The hyperbole is no doubt extreme; but the general sentiment of

mankind has approved the phrase, which exactly expresses what men feel in absolute and

complete darkness.  And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and

there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:  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.  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.”  The pitch darkness is more than Pharaoh can bear. On the third

day of its duration probably, he sends a messenger who succeeds in finding Moses,

and conducting him to the monarch’s presence. He has made up his mind to yield

another point — that on which he insisted so strongly at the last interview (vs. 10-11),

he will let the Israelites go with their families — only, their flocks and herds must

remain behind. This will be, he considers, a sufficient security for their return; since without

cattle they would be unable to support life for many days in the wilderness.  This Moses

absolutely refuses.  “And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt

offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.  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.  But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he

would not let them go.  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.” 

The reply of Pharaoh indicates violent anger. No doubt he thought that now the

intention of Moses to deprive him altogether of the services of so many hundred

thousand slaves was palpable, and scarcely concealed. Greatly enraged, he gives vent

to his rage, with the want of self-control common among Oriental monarchs —

rudely bids Moses be gone (Get thee from me), threatens him (take heed to thyself),

and bids him never more seek his presence, under the penalty of instant death, if he makes

his appearance. Considering the degree of civilization, refinement, and politeness to

which the Egyptians had attained under the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties, such an

outbreak must be regarded as abnormal, and as implying violent excitement.  And

Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.”  The

reply of Moses, so far, is simple and dignified.— “thou hast made a

right decision — further interviews between me and thee are useless, can lead to

no result, only waste time. This shall be our last interview — I will see thy face no

more.” It is generally agreed however that Moses did not quit the presence with these

words; but continued to address Pharaoh for some little time, making his parting

speech in the terms which are recorded in vs. 4-8 of the next chapter. Having

announced the Tenth Plague, the coming destruction of the first-born, he turned and

went out from Pharaoh in a great anger” (ch.11:8).


The ninth plague, like the third and the sixth, was inflicted without special warning.

God had announced, after the plague of boils, that he was about to “send all His

plagues upon the heart” of the king; (ch. 9:14) and so a succession of inflictions was

to be expected. The ninth plague probably followed the eighth after a very short

interval. It is rightly regarded as an aggravation of a well-known natural

phenomenon — the Khamsin, or “Wind of the Desert” which commonly visits Egypt

about the time of the vernal equinox, and is accompanied by an awful and weird darkness.

This is caused by the dense clouds of fine sand which the wind brings with

it, which intercept the sun’s light, and produce a darkness beyond that of our worst

fogs, and compared by some travelers to “the most gloomy night.” The wind is

depressing and annoying to an extreme degree. “While it lasts no man rises from his place;

men and beasts hide themselves; the inhabitants of towns and villages shut themselves up

in their houses, in underground apartments, or vaults.” It usually blows

for a space of two, or at most three, days, and sometimes with great violence, though

more often with only moderate force. The visitation here recorded was peculiar,


§         In its extent, covering as it did “all the land d Egypt;”

§         In its intensity — “they saw not one another” (v. 23) —

      darkness which may be felt” (v. 21);

§         In its circumscription, extending, as it did, to all Egypt except

      only the land of Goshen (v. 23).




            From the beginning of the creation God “divided the light from the

            darkness (Genesis 1:4); and ever since the two have been antagonistic

            the one to the other. Angels as well as men are divided into two classes —

            bright and glorious spirits that dwell in the light of God’s presence, and are

            called “angels of light” (II Corinthians 11:14); and gloomy spirits of

            evil, whom God has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for final

            judgment (Jude 1:6). So Scripture speaks of man as divided into those

            who are “of the night and of darkness,” and those who are “children of

            light and of the day in (I Thessalonians 5:5).





ü      Spiritual darkness. “Because they do not like to retain God in their

                        knowledge, God gives them over to a reprobate mind” (Romans

                        1:28).  Their “foolish heart is darkened” (ib. v. 21). They grow                                            

                        continually more blind and more ignorant, more incapable of seeing

                        and understanding the things of the Spirit, since these are “spiritually                           

                        discerned.” (I Corinthians 2:14) - Their senses not being “exercised

                        by reason of use to discern both good and evil,” (Hebrews 5:14) -

                        they lose the power of discernment, and “put bitter for sweet, and

                        sweet for bitter.”  (Isaiah 5:20) - “The light that is within them”

                         i.e., the conscience — having “become darkness, how great is that                                    

                        darkness”!  (Matthew 6:23)


ü      Mental darkness. They “grope as the blind in darkness” - (Deuteronomy

      28:29). They have no clue to the real nature of the universe of which

      they are a part, or of the world in which they live. (For a fantastic clue

      type “Fantastic Trip” in your browser and see what you get – this truly

      is fantastic because God is so Great and Awesome – CY – 2010) They

                        are mentally sightless, unable to perceive the force of arguments and

                        evidences which would convince any one whose mental vision God

                        had not judicially blinded. They sometimes in these days call themselves

                        “Agnostics,” implying thereby that they know nothing, see nothing, have

                        no convictions. Not unfrequently they allow them- selves to be imposed

                        upon by the most gross illusions, giving that faith to the ravings of

                        Spiritualists which they refuse to the Word of God. Or they accept as

                        certain truth the unverified speculations and hypotheses of so-called

                        scientific men, and consider Revelation to be overruled and set aside by                                    

                        the guesses of a few physiologists.


ü      Ultimately, as it would seem, they receive as their portion, PHYSICAL

      DARKNESS - “Cast ye the unprofitable servant into cuter darkness”

                        (Matthew 25:30). “The children of the kingdom shall be cast into

                        outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12).  (Reader – don’t miss the earlier

                        point in this verse which mentions a great multitude of others in the

                        kingdom of God and everyone is there but you – Luke 13:28 says “ye

                        yourselves thrust out”  “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the

                        way of Cain to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for

                        ever(Jude 1:11-13).



            LIGHT FOR THEIR PORTION. “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise

            from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Ephesians 5:14)  Christ

            gives His followers:


ü      Spiritual light. “The commandment is a lamp, the law is light”

                        (Proverbs 6:23). “By doing the will of God, men come to know of the

                        doctrine, whether it is of God’ (John 7:17). “The entrance of thy

                        words giveth light” (Psalm 119:130) - Their spiritual discernment

                        is continually increased. Whatever the amount of spiritual darkness

                        around them — in the midst of the clouds of Deism, Pantheism,                                                

                        Agnosticism, scientific materialism, godless humanism, and Atheism,

                        they “have light in their dwellings.” (v. 23) Theirs is the true                                     

                        enlightenment. The Lord their God enlightens their darkness (Psalm                               

                        18:28); opens the eyes of their understanding (Ephesians 1:18); fills

                        them with knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual                                            

                        understanding (Colossians 1:9).


ü      Mental light. The true Christian “has a right judgment in all things.”

      God gives to those who are His “the spirit of a sound mind” (II

      Timothy 1:7).  Not, that Christians are always clever — they may be

      slow, dull, devoid of all quickness or mental brightness. But they will

      be sober-minded, not easily misled; they will see through sophisms,

      even if they cannot expose them; they will not be imposed upon by  

      charlatans or “pseudo-“philosophers.” They will “try the spirits”

      (I John 4) - that seek to lead them astray, and not very often be

      deceived by them.


ü      A final reward of heavenly, ineffable, soul-satisfying light. After the

                        resurrection of the dead, “they that be wise shall shine as the

                        brightness of the firmament” (Daniel 12:3). They shall dwell where                          

                        there is light, and “no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5) - “The nations of                                   

                        them which are saved shall walk in the light” of that city which shall                                   

                        have “no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the                                  

                        glory of God will lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof”                                          

                        (Revelation 21:23-24). “There shall be no night there; and they need

                        no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them

                        light, and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).




            Pharaoh had tried compromise more than once and failed (chps. 8:25-28; 10:8-           

            11); but he must needs try it again. This marks the tenacity with which the         

            worldly-minded cling to what they think the height of policy, but what is, in        

            reality, a weak and unworthy subterfuge. Pharaoh did not wish to grant any

            part of the request of Moses; but, if he must yield to some extent, he would

            save his dignity and his interest, he thought, by yielding less than what was         

            demanded. On four occasions he makes four different offers:



      THE LIMITS OF EGYPT (ch. 8:25). A foolish offer, which, if accepted,

      would certainly have led to a riot and possibly to a civil war (ib. 26). But

      Pharaoh had only thought of his own dignity, not of the consequences. So

      civil rulers frequently ask the Church of Christ to concede this or that for the     

      honor of the State, when the concession would do the State the greatest

      possible injury. In their short-sightedness they do not see that in striking at

      the Church they will wound themselves.  In their zeal for their own honor,

      they do not care how much the Church, or even how much the State suffers.



      MUST NOT GO VERY FAR AWAY (ch. 8:28). This offer was an  

      improvement; it did not require a plain violation of the express command of

      God. But it was insidious. It was made with the view of compelling a return.      

      Pharaoh suspected from the first that the message, “Let my people go,”

      meant “let them go altogether. This, until stunned by the dread infliction of

      the last plague, he was fully resolved not to do. He would let them go as a cat

      lets a mouse go, so far but not further — not out of his reach. (How ironical,

      that within the last hour, this being March 6, 2010, my wife called my attention

            to our cat playing with something.  It turned out to be a vole, which is a mouse’s           

            kin – below is a photograph, with the cat acting as if to ignore the vole – this is  

            neither here nor there but such was Pharaoh’s intent with dealing with the          

            Israelites – play with them and then finally finish them off – CY – 2010) 

            So kings will give their people liberty, or the Church liberty, but only within       

            narrow limits — in seeming rather than in reality —to such an extent as will

            not interfere with their being the real master, and re-asserting their absolute

            power at their pleasure. Once more Pharaoh was short-sighted. Had his offer

            been accepted, and had he then attempted to compel a return, he would only

            have precipitated some such catastrophe as befell his army at the Red Sea.




            BEHIND (ch. 10:8-11). The rejection of his first and second offers

            left Pharaoh no choice but to allow of the Israelites departing beyond his

            reach. So he devises a compromise, by which he thinks to lure them back.

            They shall leave their families behind. But God had said, “Let my people

            go,” and children are as essential an element in the composition of a nation

            as either women or men. This offer was therefore more contrary to the

            Divine message which he had received than his second one. Worldly-minded

            men will frequently, while pretending to offer a better compromise, offer a

            worse; and, both in private and public dealings, it behoves prudent persons to

            be on their guard, and not imagine that every fresh bid that is made must be an  





            ONLY LEAVE THEIR CATTLE BEHIND (v.24). This was the most

            crafty suggestion of all. The cattle had not been mentioned in the Divine

            message, nor could it be said that they were part of the nation. The king

            could require the detention of the cattle without infringing the letter of

            the Divine command. But he secured the return of the nation to Egypt as

            certainly by this plan as by the retention of the families. A nomadic people

            could not subsist for many weeks — scarcely for many days, without its

            flocks and herds. The Israelites would have been starved into surrender.

            Moses, however, without taking this objection, was able to point out that

            the terms of the message, rightly weighed with reference to all the

            circumstances, embraced the cattle, since sacrifice was spoken of,

            unaccompanied by any limitation. Once more, therefore, he was enabled to

            decline the compromise suggested as an infraction of the command which

            he had received, when its terms were rightly understood. Worldly men are

            continually placing their own construction on the words of God’s

            messages, and saying that this or that should be given up as not plainly

            contained in them. The example of Moses justifies Christians in scanning

            narrowly the whole bearing and intention of each message, and insisting on

            what it implies as much as upon what it expresses. True wisdom will teach

            them not to be driven to a compromise by worldly men’s explanations of

            the Divine Word. They will study it for themselves, and guide their conduct

            by their own reading (under God’s guidance) of the commands given them.

            Further, the example of Moses in rejecting all the four offers of Pharaoh,

            may teach us to suspect, misdoubt, and carefully examine every proposed

            compromise; the essence of compromise in religion being the surrender of

            something Divinely ordered or instituted for the sake of some supposed

            temporal convenience or advantage. It can really never be right to give up

            the smallest fragment of revealed truth, or to allow the infraction of the

            least of God’s commandments for even the greatest conceivable amount of

            temporal benefit either to ourselves or others.  (Let us never sacrifice principle

            for temporary gain – CY – 2010)





            IN THEIR TRUE COLORS.  (v. 25) -  The circumstances of human life are    

            continually bringing good men and bad men into contact and intercourse. (No

            doubt this is God’s design since we are to be the “salt of the earth” and a

            city set on a hill” – (Matthew 5:13-14) - CY – 2010) - Three results may



ü      The bad may corrupt the good. This is the result too often. “Be not

      deceived, evil communications corrupt good manners.” (I Corinthians       

      15:33) - Few can touch pitch and not be defiled.


ü      The good may convert the bad. The first Christians converted a world

                        that lay in wickedness. Esther softened the heart of Ahasuerus. St.

                        Ambrose, by long withstanding his will, converted Theodosius.


ü      Neither may make any impression upon the other.  In this case, while

      the good man merely regrets his inability to turn the bad man to righteousness,

      the bad man, baffled in his attempts to overcome the scruples of the good

      man and lead him astray, is apt to be greatly provoked, and to threaten,

      or even proceed to violence. “Take heed to    thyself — in the day

      thou seest my face thou shalt die.” (v. 28) – (Remember reader, that

      was behind why Cain slew his brother, Abel – “wherefore slew he him? 

      Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” –

      (I John 3:12) - What a spring of bitterness wells up from the evil

      heart of the sinner who feels himself opposed successfully, thwarted in

       his schemes, and baffled! While he still hopes to succeed all is smooth

      speaking. “I have sinned.” “Forgive my sin this once only.” “Go ye,

       serve the Lord”.   When he finds that he cannot prevail, there is a

       sudden and COMPLETE CHANGE.  Benefits are forgotten; friendliness

      is a thing of the past; even the prescribed forms of politeness are set aside.

      The wild beast that lies hid in each unregenerate man shows itself, and

      the friendly acquaintance of months or years is ready to tear his opposer to




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