For they covered the face of the whole earth
Of the whole land of Egypt; and this seems to be the instance in which these locusts differed from all others, that had been or would be, even in their numbers; for though there might have been before, and have been since, such vast numbers of them together as to darken the air and the sun, and by lighting first on one spot, and then on another, have destroyed whole countries; yet never was such an instance known as this, as that they should come in so large a body, and at once to light, and spread, and settle themselves over the whole country. Leo Africanus F16 indeed speaks of a swarm of locusts, which he himself saw at Tagtessa in Africa, A. D. 1510, which covered the whole surface of the ground; but then that was but in one place, but this was a whole country. It is in the original, "they covered the eye of the whole earth"; of which (See Gill on Exodus 10:5).
so that the land was darkened;
the proper colour of the earth, and the green grass on it, could not be seen for them, they lay so thick upon it; and being perhaps of a brown colour, as they often are, the land seemed dark with them:
and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the
trees, which the hail had left;
for though every herb of the field is said to be smitten, and every tree of the field to be broke with it, ( Exodus 9:25 ) , yet this, as has been observed, is to be understood either hyperbolically, or of the greater part thereof, but not of the whole:
and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of
the field, through all the land of Egypt;
the like is said to befall the province of Carpitania, in the nineth year of Childibert, king of France; which was so wasted by locusts, that not a tree, nor a vineyard, nor a forest, nor any sort of fruit, nor any other green thing remained F17. So Dr. Shaw F18 says of the locusts he saw as above related, that they let nothing escape them, eating up everything that was green and juicy, not only the lesser kinds of vegetables, but the vine likewise, the fig tree, the pomegranate, the palm, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field. But then such devastations are usually made gradually, by these creatures moving from place to place, whereas this destruction in Egypt was done in one day. Indeed we are told in history, that in one country one hundred and forty acres of land were destroyed in one day F19; but what is this to all the land of Egypt? with this plague may be compared that of the locusts upon the sounding of the fifth trumpet, ( Revelation 9:1-11 ) .
F16 Descriptio Africae, l. 2. p. 117.
F17 Frantzii Hist. Animal. Sacr. par. 5. c. 4. p. 802.
F18 Ut supra. (Travels, p. 187. Edit. 2.)
F19 Frantz. ib. p. 800.