The Plague of Locusts
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants [making them determined and unresponsive], so that I may exhibit My signs [of divine power] (a)among them, 2 and that you may recount and explain in the hearing of your son, and your grandson, what I have done [repeatedly] to make a mockery of the Egyptians—My signs [of divine power] which I have done among them—so that you may know [without any doubt] and recognize [clearly] that I am the Lord.”
3 So 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 serve Me. 4 For if you refuse to let My people go, then hear this: tomorrow I will bring [migratory] locusts into your country. 5 They shall cover the [visible] surface of the land, so that no one will be able to see the ground, and they will eat the rest of what has remained—that is, the vegetation left after the hail—and they will eat every one of your trees that grows in the field; 6 your houses and those of all your servants and of all the Egyptians shall be filled with locusts, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from their birth until this day.’” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh. 7 Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long shall this man be a trap to us? Let the men go, so that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not realize that Egypt is destroyed?” 8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the Lord your God! Who specifically are the ones that are going?” 9 Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds [all of us and all that we have], for we must hold a feast to the Lord.” 10 Pharaoh said to them, “The Lord be with you [to help you], if I ever let you go with your children [because you will never return]! Look [be forewarned], (b)you have an (c)evil plan in mind. 11 No! Go now, you who are men, [without your families] and serve the Lord, if that is what you want.” So Moses and Aaron were driven from Pharaoh’s presence.
12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, so that they may come up on the land of Egypt and eat all the plants of the land, all that the hail has left.” 13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind on the land all that day and all that night; when it was morning, the east wind had brought the [swarms of] locusts. 14 The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled down in the whole territory, a very dreadful mass of them; never before were there such locusts as these, nor will there ever be again. 15 For they covered the [visible] surface of the land, so that the ground was darkened; and they ate every plant of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. There remained not a green thing on the trees or the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt. 16 Then Pharaoh hurried to call for Moses and Aaron, and he said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now therefore, please forgive my sin only this once [more], and pray and entreat the Lord your God, so that He will remove this [plague of] death from me.” 18 Moses left Pharaoh and entreated the Lord. 19 So the Lord shifted the wind to a violent west wind which lifted up the locusts and drove them into the (d)Red Sea; not one locust remained within the border of Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart [so that it was even more resolved and obstinate], and he did not let the Israelites go.
Darkness over the Land
21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, so that (e)darkness may come over the land of Egypt, a darkness which [is so awful that it] may be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and for three days a thick darkness was all over the land of Egypt [no sun, no moon, no stars]. 23 The Egyptians could not see one another, nor did anyone leave his place for three days, but all the Israelites had [supernatural] light in their dwellings. 24 Then Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, “Go, serve the Lord; only your flocks and your herds must be left behind. Even your children may go with you.” 25 But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, so that we may sacrifice them to the Lord our God. 26 Therefore, our livestock must also go with us; not one hoof shall be left behind, for we must take some of them to serve the Lord our God. Even we do not know with what we will serve the Lord until we arrive there.” 27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. 28 Then Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get away from me! See that you never enter my presence again, for on the day that you see my face again you will die!” 29 Then Moses said, “You are correct; I will never see your face again!”
a. Exodus 10:1: Lit in his midst.
b. Exodus 10:10: Lit for evil is in front of your faces.
c. Exodus 10:10: Pharaoh was suspicious that Moses intended to lead Israel away from Egypt for good. He knew that as long as their children remained in Egypt, the Israelites would not attempt an escape to freedom.
d. Exodus 10:19: Lit Sea of Reeds (Hebrew) yam suph. The traditional name “Red Sea” comes from the Greek, which is based on the designation of the fifth-century b.c. Greek historian Herodotus. The famous historian, who was called the father of history, considered the sea part of the Indian Ocean, which he called the Red Sea. Later the term came to refer to the sea itself. The name “Red Sea” is used throughout the O.T. instead of “Sea of Reeds.”
e. Exodus 10:21: One of the primary gods of the Egyptians was Ra the sun-god. The darkness revealed his uselessness and prevented the daily rituals of pagan worship.