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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 10

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-2


Verses 1, 2:

The personal pronoun "I" is stated in the Hebrew text. From this point on the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart was the work of Jehovah. God would use Pharaoh’s obstinacy to demonstrate His power and glory, not only for the generation, but for generations yet unborn.

The text teaches the responsibility of parents to teach God’s Word and works to their children.

Verses 3-6

Verses 3-6:

Once more Moses and Aaron appeared before Pharaoh with a message from Jehovah: a demand that Pharaoh humble himself before God. The proud king had acknowledged his sin (Ex 9:27), but this was not an act of true humility. God did not ask for words, but for deeds. Only permission to leave Egypt would constitute the act of humility which Jehovah required.

The alternative to humility: a plague of locusts, more devastating than any in Egypt’s history.

Having delivered this warning, Moses abruptly left the palace.

Verses 7-11

Verses 7-11:

For the first time, Pharaoh’s courtiers speak out. Terrible plagues had devastated the land, the livestock were slain, and the crops were destroyed. They foresaw ultimate ruin to the entire country, if Pharaoh did not agree to Moses’ request. By this time, many of these servants had begun to believe in the power of Moses. Now that he threatened a plague of locusts which would completely wipe out their remaining crops, they were frightened.

Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron before him. He demanded to know just who would go out of Egypt should he allow their request. Moses’ reply: the entire nation of Israel, with all their possessions.

Moses’ statement angered Pharaoh. This demand seemed so unreasonable that he would under no circumstances grant it. Pharaoh did make a concession: he would allow the adult males to go and worship Jehovah. With this reply, an officer drove the brothers from Pharaoh’s presence.

Pharaoh’s concession reflects a tactic of Satan: that commitment to God should not be of the total person. Pharaoh knew that if the men left their families in Egypt, they were sure to return for them. Satan knows that if we leave our dearest possessions with him, we will return for them.

Verses 12-15

Verses 12-15:

God often uses natural means to accomplish a supernatural result. For the eighth "stroke," or plague, He sent a strong east wind, which blew all day and all night. The next morning, swarms of locusts invaded Egypt. locusts generally come with a wind. In this case, the east wind came from Arabia, where locusts breed in great numbers.

"Locust" arbeh, the edible winged variety, mentioned in Le 11:22; 2Ch 6:28, and other references. They were among the most feared of all pestilences. They traveled in great swarms, and settling upon a field could strip it bare in a matter of hours. The locusts which came upon Egypt were of a size and quantity never before seen in that land. This horde of destroyers left nothing. What the hail had spared, these creatures devoured. Not one blade of grass or leaf of tree was left, throughout the entire land of Egypt.

This devastation illustrates the awful consequences of rebelling against the Word of God.

Verses 16-20

Verses 16-20:

When Pharaoh saw the effects of the plague of locusts, he became desperate. He sent "in haste" for Moses and Aaron. He acknowledged, "I have sinned against Jehovah your Elohe, and against you." He admitted his sin against Jehovah, but did not acknowledge Him as his God.

Pharaoh admitted his sin ’against Moses and Aaron in making promises to them and then failing to keep them.

"I pray thee," I beg of you. The proud sovereign now became the pitiful supplicant, the beggar.

Not only did Pharaoh acknowledge his sin, he asked forgiveness. He was suffering under Divine judgment. But it was not repentance; it was a desire for relief from suffering.

Jehovah heard this request, and sent a "mighty strong west wind," lit. "a very strong sea-wind," from the Mediterranean Sea. This wind blew the locusts in the direction they had come, and they drowned in the waters of the Red Sea, or "Sea of Reeds." Not one locust was left in Egypt.

When Pharaoh saw that the plague was lifted, he changed his mind and refused to let Israel go. "The Lord hardened" his heart, but only after he had made the fatal choice of sin against knowledge.

Verses 21-23

Verses 21-23:

The ninth plague struck unannounced with fierce intensity. Darkness descended over the land of Egypt. It was literally a darkness that could be felt. Similar darkness is that of the Chamsin, a southwest wind common in early morning, though more intense and severe, long-lasting. This dread wind rises suddenly and without warning. The air becomes charged with static electricity. It draws up dust and fine particles of sand until the light of the sun is hidden. The darkness deepens until artificial light is ineffective. The sand and dust enter every house, and fill every pore. Both men and animals seek any kind of shelter available.

It is possible that a severe Chamsin is what God sent upon Egypt. If so, it was far worse than others had been. It lasted for three days, during which no one in all Egypt got out of bed.

Jehovah showed His power and favor by giving light as usual in the Land of Goshen.

This plague was also directed against Egypt’s highest deity: Ra, the sun-god. Jehovah of Israel demonstrated His power over this false god, by withholding the light of the sun for three days.

Verses 24-26

Verses 24-26:

Once more Pharaoh sent for Moses. He would now let all Israel go including their children, but they must leave their flocks behind. This was unacceptable to Moses. He knew that they must have their flocks for a livelihood. Also, he did not know the specific animals which Jehovah would require for sacrifice; so, there must not be left behind even "a hoof."

Verses 27-29

Verses 27-29:

"Hardened" yekhazak, the strongest term of the three words so translated. This is the same word used in V. 20.

The text shows that Pharaoh was filled with rage at Moses’ request. He rudely ordered him from the court, and promised death if he should return. Moses’ reply was prophetic: Pharaoh would indeed see his face no more. With this refusal, Pharaoh sealed his doom.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Exodus 10". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/exodus-10.html. 1985.
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