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The Eighth and Ninth Plagues
1-20. The Eighth Plague:—Locusts.
2. See on Exodus 7:4-5;
3. This question shows that Pharaoh was responsible for the hardening of his heart: see on Exodus 4:21.
4-6. Travellers are unanimous in bearing witness to the terrible ravages caused by a visitation of locusts. They fly in dense swarms, sometimes miles in length, so that the air is darkened with them. Wherever they alight they devour every green thing, not sparing the bark of trees. For a description of a locust plague see Joel 1:1-7; Joel 2:1-11, where the locusts are compared to an army of horsemen.
10. Let the Lord be so with you..] This is spoken in scorn, and is equivalent to a refusal to let them go. Evil is before you] i.e. your intentions are evil: cp. Psalms 101:3;
11. Ye that are men] Pharaoh means to keep the women and children as a pledge that the others will return: cp. Exodus 10:24.
13. An east wind] Locusts are known frequently to have come from the East, being bred in Syria and Arabia. In this instance they were removed by a west wind which carried them into the Red Sea (Exodus 10:19).
17. This death] A graphic description of the desolation caused by the plague.
19. Red Sea] The Gk. name, given perhaps on account of the red coral which lines its floors and sides. The Heb. name is Yam Suph, which means ’Sea of Reeds.’
21-29. The Ninth Plague:—Darkness.
21. This plague, like the third and sixth, was sent without warning. It is not said how the darkness was produced, but in all probability it had a natural basis, like the other plagues. It resembles the darkness caused by the khamsin, a S. or SW. wind, excessively hot and charged with fine dust, which blows about the time of the vernal equinox. The darkness is often local, covering a belt or strip of the country. The unusually dense gloom would excite the superstitious fears of the Egyptians, who worshipped the sun-god Ra. For a vivid description of the terrors of this plague, see book of Wisdom, Exodus 17.
24. Cp. the former concession of Pharaoh in Exodus 10:11. He is now willing to let the people go, but wishes to retain their flocks, in order to ensure their return.
26. We know not with what we must serve the Lord] a reason for taking all their flocks with them. The feast was new, and they did not know what they might require.
29. The present interview does not terminate with these words, but is continued in the next chapter Moses leaves the presence of Pharaoh at Exodus 11:8. Exodus 11:1-3 may be regarded as a parenthesis.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Exodus 10". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany