Exodus 10

1 The LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I may show these my signs amongst them, 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your son’s son, what things I have done to Egypt, and my signs which I have done amongst them; that you may know that I am the LORD.” 3 Moses and Aaron went in 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, that they may serve me. 4 Or else, if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, 5 and they shall cover the surface of the earth, so that one won’t be able to see the earth. They shall eat the residue of that which has escaped, which remains to you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which grows for you out of the field. 6 Your houses shall be filled, and the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; as neither your fathers nor your fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day.’” He turned, and went out from Pharaoh. 7 Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD, their God. Don’t you yet know that Egypt is destroyed?” 8 Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the LORD your God; but who are those who will go?” 9 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 to the LORD.” 10 He said to them, “The LORD be with you if I will let you go with your little ones! See, evil is clearly before your faces. 11 Not so! Go now you who are men, and serve the LORD; for that is what you desire!” They were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence. 12 The LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up on the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail has left.” 13 Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind on the land all that day, and all night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. 14 The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the borders of Egypt. They were very grievous. Before them there were no such locusts as they, nor will there ever be again. 15 For they covered the surface of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened, and they ate every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. There remained nothing green, either tree or herb of the field, through all the land of Egypt. 16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and he said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. 17 Now therefore please forgive my sin again, and pray to the LORD your God, that he may also take away from me this death.” 18 He went out from Pharaoh, and prayed to the LORD. 19 The LORD turned an exceeding strong west wind, which took up the locusts, and drove them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the borders of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he didn’t let the children of Israel go. 21 The LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand towards the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.” 22 Moses stretched out his hand towards the sky, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. 23 They didn’t see one another, and nobody rose from his place for three days; but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. 24 Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, “Go, serve the LORD. Only let your flocks and your herds stay behind. Let your little ones also go with you.” 25 Moses said, “You must also give into our hand sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. 26 Our livestock also shall go with us. Not a hoof shall be left behind, for of it we must take to serve the LORD our God; and we don’t know with what we must serve the LORD, until we come there.” 27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he wouldn’t let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Be careful to see my face no more; for in the day you see my face you shall die!” 29 Moses said, “You have spoken well. I will see your face again no more.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–11

The plagues of Egypt show the sinfulness of sin. They warn the children of men not to strive with their Maker. Pharaoh had pretended to humble himself; but no account was made of it, for he was not sincere therein. The plague of locusts is threatened. This should be much worse than any of that kind which had ever been known. Pharaoh’s attendants persuade him to come to terms with Moses. Hereupon Pharaoh will allow the men to go, falsely pretending that this was all they desired. He swears that they shall not remove their little ones. Satan does all he can to hinder those that serve God themselves, from bringing their children to serve him. He is a sworn enemy to early piety. Whatever would put us from engaging our children in God’s service, we have reason to suspect Satan in it. Nor should the young forget that the Lord’s counsel is, Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth; but Satan’s counsel is, to keep children in a state of slavery to sin and to the world. Mark that the great foe of man wishes to retain him by the ties of affection, as Pharaoh would have taken hostages from the Israelites for their return, by holding their wives and children in captivity. Satan is willing to share our duty and our service with the Saviour, because the Saviour will not accept those terms.

Verses 12–20

God bids Moses stretch out his hand; locusts came at the call. An army might more easily have been resisted than this host of insects. Who then is able to stand before the great God? They covered the face of the earth, and ate up the fruit of it. Herbs grow for the service of man; yet when God pleases, insects shall plunder him, and eat the bread out of his mouth. Let our labour be, not for the habitation and meat thus exposed, but for those which endure to eternal life. Pharaoh employs Moses and Aaron to pray for him. There are those, who, in distress, seek the help of other people’s prayers, but have no mind to pray for themselves. They show thereby that they have no true love to God, nor any delight in communion with him. Pharaoh desires only that this death might be taken away, not this sin. He wishes to get rid of the plague of locusts, not the plague of a hard heart, which was more dangerous. An east wind brought the locusts, a west wind carries them off. Whatever point the wind is in, it is fulfilling God’s word, and turns by his counsel. The wind bloweth where it listeth, as to us; but not so as it respects God. It was also an argument for their repentance; for by this it appeared that God is ready to forgive, and swift to show mercy. If he does this upon the outward tokens of humiliation, what will he do if we are sincere! Oh that this goodness of God might lead us to repentance! Pharaoh returned to his resolution again, not to let the people go. Those who have often baffled their convictions, are justly given up to the lusts of their hearts.

Verses 21–29

The plague of darkness brought upon Egypt was a dreadful plague. It was darkness which might be felt, so thick were the fogs. It astonished and terrified. It continued three days; six nights in one; so long the most lightsome palaces were dungeons. Now Pharaoh had time to consider, if he would have improved it. Spiritual darkness is spiritual bondage; while Satan blinds men’s eyes that they see not, he binds their hands and feet, that they work not for God, nor move toward heaven. They sit in darkness. It was righteous with God thus to punish. The blindness of their minds brought upon them this darkness of the air; never was mind so blinded as Pharaoh’s, never was air so darkened as Egypt. Let us dread the consequences of sin; if three days of darkness were so dreadful, what will everlasting darkness be? The children of Israel, at the same time, had light in their dwellings. We must not think we share in common mercies as a matter of course, and therefore that we owe no thanks to God for them. It shows the particular favour he bears to his people. Wherever there is an Israelite indeed, though in this dark world, there is light, there is a child of light. When God made this difference between the Israelites and the Egyptians, who would not have preferred the poor cottage of an Israelite to the fine palace of an Egyptian? There is a real difference between the house of the wicked, which is under a curse, and the habitation of the just, which is blessed. Pharaoh renewed the treaty with Moses and Aaron, and consented they should take their little ones, but would have their cattle left. It is common for sinners to bargain with God Almighty; thus they try to mock him, but they deceive themselves. The terms of reconciliation with God are so fixed, that though men dispute them ever so long, they cannot possibly alter them, or bring them lower. We must come to the demand of God’s will; we cannot expect he should condescend to the terms our lusts would make. With ourselves and our children, we must devote all our worldly possessions to the service of God; we know not what use he will make of any part of what we have. Pharaoh broke off the conference abruptly, and resolved to treat no more. Had he forgotten how often he had sent for Moses to ease him of his plagues? and must he now be bid to come no more? Vain malice! to threaten him with death, who was armed with such power! What will not hardness of heart, and contempt of God’s word and commandments, bring men to! After this, Moses came no more till he was sent for. When men drive God’s word from them, he justly gives them up to their own delusions.

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