He sent darkness, and made it dark
The land of Egypt; either he, God, or it, darkness, made it dark, or it was made dark; the Targum is,
``made them dark;''
that is, the Egyptians; darkness was a messenger of the Lord's, who forms the light and creates darkness; it came at his word and covered all the land, excepting the dwellings of Israel; even a thick darkness that might be felt, so that the Egyptians could not see one another, nor rise from their place for three days together; such as sometimes rises at sea, and is said to be so dark, that for five days together day and night are the same; this was the ninth of the ten plagues, ( Exodus 10:21-23 ) and was an emblem of the darkness which is on the minds of men in an unregenerate state; who are covered with gross darkness, and are even darkness itself; which is universal as to persons, and the powers and faculties of their souls concerning divine things: and it also bears some resemblance to the darkness which will be in the kingdom of the beast upon the pouring out of the fifth vial, or plague, on spiritual Egypt, ( Revelation 16:10 ) .
And they rebelled not against his word:
the plague of darkness, and the rest of the plagues which God commanded; these, as they were his servants, were not disobedient to him, they came at his word; see ( Psalms 105:31 Psalms 105:34 ) , so Jarchi interprets it; or else Moses and Aaron, who were sent of God to inflict those plagues, did not refuse to obey the divine orders; though Pharaoh threatened them hard, yet they feared not the wrath and menaces of the king, but did as the Lord commanded them. Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, mention both these senses, but the latter seems most agreeable. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, leave out the word "not"; and so some copies of the Vulgate Latin version, and Apollinarius in his metaphrase, "and they rebelled against his word"; that is, the Egyptians did not hearken to the word of the Lord, nor to the signs and wonders he wrought, but their hearts were hardened, and they would not let Israel go. But this is contrary to the original text; though Arama interprets it of them, that they did not rebel, but confessed this miracle, which being the greatest of all, as he observes, is first mentioned. Dr. Lightfoot F25 thinks it is to be understood of Israel, and of some special part of obedience performed by them; which he takes to be circumcision, which they had omitted in Egypt, at least many of them, and was necessary to their eating of the passover, which was to be done in a few days, ( Exodus 12:48 ) and it was a fit time to perform this service while darkness for three days was upon the Egyptians; in which they were shut up by the Lord, that they might not take the opportunity against his people, now sore through circumcision.
F25 Works, vol. 1. p. 707.