Exodus 10:1-20

The Plague of Locusts

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them
2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD.”
3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
4 If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow.
5 They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields.
6 They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your parents nor your ancestors have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.’ ” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.
7 Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the LORD their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”
8 Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the LORD your God,” he said. “But tell me who will be going.”
9 Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the LORD.”
10 Pharaoh said, “The LORD be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil.[a]
11 No! Have only the men go and worship the LORD, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.
12 And the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.”
13 So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the LORD made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts;
14 they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again.
15 They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.
16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you.
17 Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the LORD your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”
18 Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD.
19 And the LORD changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea.[b] Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt.
20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.

Exodus 10:1-20 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 10

This chapter is introduced with giving the reasons why the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, Ex 10:1,2. Moses and Aaron go in to him, and once more demanded in the name of the Lord the dismission of the people of Israel, and in case of refusal, threatened him with locusts being sent into his country, which should make terrible havoc in all his coasts, Ex 10:3-6, the servants of Pharaoh entreat him to let them go, upon which Moses and Aaron are brought in again, and treated with about the terms of their departure; but they, insisting upon taking all with them, men, women, and children, and flocks and herds, and Pharaoh not willing that any but men should go, they are drove from his presence in wrath, Ex 10:7-11 wherefore the locusts were brought on all the land, which made sad devastation in it, Ex 10:12-15, and this wrought on Pharaoh so far as to acknowledge his sin, pray for forgiveness, and to desire Moses and Aaron to entreat the Lord to remove the plague, which they did, and it was removed accordingly, but still Pharaoh's heart was hardened, Ex 10:16-20 then followed the plague of thick darkness over all the land for three days, which brought Pharaoh to yield that all should go with them excepting their flocks and herds; but Moses not only insisted that not a hoof should be left behind, but that Pharaoh should give them sacrifices and burnt offerings, Ex 10:21-26. Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he refused to comply, and Moses was bid to be gone, and take care never to see his face any more, and which Moses agreed to, Ex 10:27-29.

Exodus 10:1-20 In-Context

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them
2 that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD.”
3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
4 If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow.
5 They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields.
6 They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your parents nor your ancestors have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.’ ” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.
7 Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the LORD their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”
8 Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the LORD your God,” he said. “But tell me who will be going.”
9 Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the LORD.”
10 Pharaoh said, “The LORD be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil.
11 No! Have only the men go and worship the LORD, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.
12 And the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.”
13 So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the LORD made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts;
14 they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again.
15 They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.
16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you.
17 Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the LORD your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”
18 Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD.
19 And the LORD changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea. Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt.
20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.
21 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.”
22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.
23 No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.
24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the LORD. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.”

Cross References 27

  • 1. S Exodus 4:21
  • 2. S Exodus 3:19; S Exodus 7:3; Joshua 24:17; Nehemiah 9:10; Psalms 74:9; Psalms 105:26-36
  • 3. Exodus 12:26-27; Exodus 13:8,14; Deuteronomy 4:9; Deuteronomy 6:20; Deuteronomy 32:7; Joshua 4:6; Psalms 44:1; Psalms 71:18; Psalms 78:4,5; Joel 1:3
  • 4. 1 Samuel 6:6
  • 5. S Exodus 6:2
  • 6. 1 Kings 21:29; 2 Kings 22:19; 2 Chronicles 7:14; 2 Chronicles 12:7; 2 Chronicles 33:23; 2 Chronicles 34:27; Job 42:6; Isaiah 58:3; Daniel 5:22; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6
  • 7. Exodus 8:2; Exodus 9:2
  • 8. Deuteronomy 28:38; Psalms 105:34; Proverbs 30:27; Joel 1:4; Revelation 9:3
  • 9. Exodus 9:32; Joel 1:4
  • 10. ver 15
  • 11. Joel 2:9
  • 12. S Exodus 9:18
  • 13. Exodus 23:33; Exodus 34:12; Deuteronomy 7:16; Deuteronomy 12:30; Deuteronomy 20:18; Joshua 23:13; Judges 2:3; Judges 8:27; Judges 16:5; 1 Samuel 18:21; Psalms 106:36; Ecclesiastes 7:26
  • 14. S Genesis 20:3; S Exodus 8:19
  • 15. S Exodus 8:8
  • 16. S Exodus 3:18
  • 17. Exodus 7:19
  • 18. ver 21-22; Exodus 4:17; Exodus 8:5,17; Exodus 9:23; Exodus 14:15-16,26-27; Exodus 17:5; Numbers 20:8
  • 19. ver 4; 1 Kings 8:37; Psalms 78:46; Psalms 105:34; Amos 4:9; Nahum 3:16
  • 20. Deuteronomy 28:38; Psalms 78:46; Isaiah 33:4; Joel 1:4; Joel 2:1-11,25; Amos 4:9
  • 21. ver 5; Deuteronomy 28:38; Psalms 105:34-35; Joel 1:4; Amos 7:2; Malachi 3:11
  • 22. S Exodus 8:25
  • 23. S Exodus 9:27
  • 24. 1 Samuel 15:25
  • 25. S Exodus 8:8
  • 26. S Exodus 8:30
  • 27. S Exodus 4:21; Exodus 11:10

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "Be careful, trouble is in store for you!"
  • [b]. Or "the Sea of Reeds"
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