By Richard Lodwick
Exodus 10:1-20 (KJB) And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: 2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD. 3 And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me. 4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast: 5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field: 6 And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh. 7 And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? 8 And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go? 9 And 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 unto the LORD. 10 And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. 11 Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence. 12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left. 13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. 14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. 15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs 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 forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only. 18 And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. 19 And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.
Here I want to look at locusts themselves, for perhaps we might tend to think this plague a little thing. Perhaps the thought is that there were but a few and perhaps underestimate the devastation they can and did cause. And, Pharaoh’s hard heart made the plague certain! See now V11 again. In the East, when a person of authority and rank feels annoyed by a petition which he is unwilling to grant, he makes a signal to his attendants, who rush forward and, seizing the obnoxious nuisance by the neck, drag him out of the chamber with violent haste. Of such a character was the impassioned scene in the royal court of Egypt when the king had worked himself into such a fit of uncontrollable fury as to treat ignominiously the two venerable representatives of the Hebrew people and their God. But remember, God was not only defaming Pharaoh but setting an example for His people, Israel! Hearken back to V2. God can accomplish multiple things all at the same time, as no other can do!
The gods affected here are again, multiple. For sure it defamed Serapia, the protector from, of all things… locusts! Others were ISIS, Seth, BAAL, (oddly enough god of… thunder, and other things), & HU, god of the spoken words, for Moses spoke the words of God. This plague was especially hurtful and demoralizing.
The locust, which the peoples of that area and all of Africa were afraid of, are perhaps natures most awesome example of collective destructive power. An adult weighs at most 2 grams and it’s combined destructive force can leave thousands of people with famine for years. Remember, after they eat all the foliage, it takes a long time to grow back. What do they do for food in the meantime, especially when the devastation here was SO extreme? (V5-6)
In 1926 & 1927 small swarms of the African migratory species were spotted in an area 50 by 120 miles on the plains of the river Niger near Timbuktu. The next year they invaded Senegal & Sierra Leone. By 1930 the whole west of Africa was thick with them. Swarms reached Khartoum, more than 2000 miles to the east of Timbuktu, then turned south across Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Belgian Congo, and in 1932 striking the lush farmlands of Rhodesia & Angola they brought massive famine conditions. Over time they affected 5 million sq. miles of Africa, nearly double the size of the United States. (Think He can’t do it here? Fires, floods, storms???)
They have insatiable appetites and eat constantly. Imagine millions of them at once, and what they could eat in just 24 hrs! One square mile of a swarm will normally contain 100,000,000 to 200,000,00 of them. It is, however, rare for them to only occupy a small area. Records show where they have covered more than 400 sq. miles at a time. They are also marvels of physical stamina. They are able to flap their wings non-stop for 17 hours and may be able to fly at a cruising speed of 10-12 miles per hr. for 20 hrs. or more. Average density per sq. mile is 130,000,000. Now, look at V14-15.
It is against this knowledge that Moses and Aaron warned Pharaoh of the plague. This one, again, is most devastating. So, how can Pharaoh stand before his people, if he cared about them at all, and see them starving because of his hard-hearted stubbornness? But he did! On he went with a heart full of personal pride rather than being a compassionate leader of his nation. (Note- there is no mention of the wise guys here! Many questions come to mind.) ….Pharaoh, with all his contrivances, and/or incantations, can do nothing to protect himself from this overwhelming invasion. Egypt has often suffered from locusts, but the plague that followed the wave of the Moses’ rod was altogether unprecedented!
Such conditions also certainly brought on widespread robbery and social unrest. The economic, political, social, and religious implications were beyond description. (I wonder what it’s going to be like when it hits here?) And, HOW did the priests present themselves in public anymore? HOW did they approach their idols? What do they say to them, which by the way NEVER answer them back unless it is a demon/devil incarnation situation? (And I have wondered often about that!) Egypt was indeed being destroyed right before their faces! What a blow to their “religion.”
But what can WE make of this… for today? Is this merely history or is there application today? It’s a warning to nations He blesses, too; like OUR country! Ask Israel how rebellion and sin worked out!
Turn your back on God, flip Him off, as we have, and He will take away both protection (military & otherwise) and food! Yes, even to the mighty America! Folks, God sent His OWN PEOPLE into slavery and killed many of them (which He will do again, see Zech. 13 & 14), and He’ll do it to America! I’ve heard, with my own ears, preachers SAY, America can NEVER be invaded! We’re TOO militarily strong to fall! Really? O, America, will you not repent and turn back? O, America!