By Richard Lodwick
Exodus 10:21-23 (KJB) And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. 22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: 23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
First let me say that I have read numerous commentaries and many of the “scholars” try to explain away this one, like the others. They say there were thick clouds or a sandstorm that blotted out the sun. I say God took away light just as he gave it in Genesis 1. DO NOT EVER try to explain away the miraculous of God with the whim and limitation of man! Such “know it alls” make me sick and tear many away from the truth of the Bible, and set themselves up as the authority, rather than God and His Word!
This plague was against their most venerated god. Their sun god (Re/Ra or Amun/Amon-Ra) was just about the highest one they had and was considered the most faithful of their gods, BECAUSE, after all, he came to them every day… without fail… until now! Their attitude towards this god is best summed up in the Egyptian hymn to the sun, as follows (You must read this):
Hail to thee, beautiful Re of every day, who rises at dawn without ceasing; Khepri wearying (himself ) with labor! Thy rays are in (one’s) face, without knowing it. Fine gold is not like the radiance of thee. Thou who has constructed thyself, thou didst fashion thy body, a shaper who was (himself) not shaped; unique in his nature, passing eternity, the distant one, under whose guidance are millions of ways, just as thy radiance is like the radiance of heaven and thy color glistens more.
During one dynasty Amun-Re was made the national god; part of an important triad of deities including his wife Mut (no pun intended. She was associated with the “dog days” of summer, I suppose) and also his son Khons. Remember, too, Pharaoh was a god also and considered himself the representative or vicar of Re/Ra. Aten was also a deified sun disc (seen in and on the heads of their drawings of their gods) and Atum was the god of the setting sun, depicted in human form. NOTE: One of the sacred animals associated with him was the snake; in particular the cobra snake. (Remember the headdress Pharaoh’s wore?- Looking like a cobra snakehead?) Khepre, who appeared like a beetle, was also a form of the sun god, Ra. (Confused yet? Let’s try harder.) Horus was the sun god symbolized by a winged sun disc; son of Isis & Osiris, BUT ALSO the son of Ra, and his brother Seth. Harakhte, another form of the god Horus and identified with the sun, was venerated at Heliopolis, and was represented by a hawk! Many also feel that Hathor was defamed also, along with the sky goddess Nut. These also DO NOT include the gods/goddesses of the stars! Can you imagine a religion like that?
Darkness is something that men fear. They may not say it, but this kind of darkness, that seemingly comes from nowhere, and has no solution at hand, brings fear. When it is as dark, and black as it was then, it brings fear. Darkness for an extended time also brings serious health and mental problems. In Alaska, the extended darkness, which is nowhere near what it was in Egypt, brings drinking problems and mental problems including increased suicide. God gave light to man for a great reason.
When I was out in the Pacific Ocean, I was immediately surprised that there were no street lights in the night! HOW does one get where they are going? There is NO light whatsoever, anywhere, at night! The darkness there, when the stars were not visible, was what I would call heavy and absolutely impossible to see through. Even the light of the ship dies out! I literally could not see my hand in front of my face or where to step. It was dangerous for obvious reasons AND you could not find your way back to the hatch you had just closed. What do you do? The answer is, if God doesn’t do something there is nothing you can do on your own. Note also, Israel HAD light! 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, tho it be ever so humble.
The appalling character of this calamity consisted in this, that the sun was an object of Egyptian idolatry; that the pure and serene sky of that country was never marred by the appearance of a cloud. And here, too, the Lord made a marked difference between Goshen and the rest of Egypt. But God had taken away all light.
In Egypt, I’m absolutely positive, they cried to their gods (Re/Ra or Amun-Ra)…but to no avail. Will the sun EVER shine again, I want you to close your eyes and imagine if you woke up in the morning and the sun was totally out? Ever wake up in the night and wonder if it had happened, not knowing what time it is? This darkness was heavy, oppressive, and brought confusion and soul-deep fear! And, by the way, came with no warning. How fearful a thing this was; when God turns out all light!
In closing, imagine the absolute darkness of outer space. Now, look at Jer. 13:16 & Mt. 22:13. See also 2Pet. 2:4 & Jude 6 & I refer you back to Gen. 1. The God of Israel was the God Who created the sun and gave light, NOT Ra OR Amon-Ra or any other god they worshiped. AND Jehovah God would make it crystal clear! HE ALONE is God and fear would sit on them like white on rice as darkness set on the nation! And unless God turned the light back on, death by regular means or suicide was unavoidable… and they came to know it about halfway through the second day!