Locusts and Horrifying Darkness
With Questions and Proposed Answers
Background and Printed Text: Exodus chapter 10
Exodus 10:1 And Yehovah said unto Draw [Moshe], “Come unto Pharaoh. For I, I weighted his heart and the heart of his slaves so that I put these my signs in his midst 2and so that thou wilt scroll what I have acted myself in Double-Adversity [Egypt] in the ears of thy son and the son of thy son, and my signs that I placed in them. And ye shall know that I am Yehovah!”
3And Draw [Moshe] came, and Oy!-Conception! [Aharon], unto Pharaoh. And they said unto him, “So said Yehovah Gods of the Hebrews, ‘Until when hast thou refused to humble from my faces? Send my people, and he has served me! 4For if thou art refusing to send my people, behold I am bringing a locust into thy border tomorrow. 5And he will cover the eye of the land. And he will not be able to see the land. And he will eat the excess of the escapee remaining to you from the hail. And he will eat all the tree that springs-forth to you from the field! 6And they shall fill thy houses and the houses of all thy slaves and the houses of all Double-Adversity [Egypt] that thy fathers and fathers of thy fathers did not see from the day of their being upon the soil unto this day!’” And he turned. And he exited from with Pharaoh.
7And the slaves of Pharaoh said unto him, “Until when will this be to us for a snare? Send the men! And they have served Yehovah their Gods! Is it before thou wilt know that Double-Adversity [Egypt] perished?”
8And he returned Draw [Moshe] and Oy!-Conception! [Aharon] unto Pharaoh. And he said unto them, “Go ye! Serve ye Yehovah your Gods! Who and who are the walking?” 9And Draw [Moshe] said, “We will walk with our youths and with our elders; we will walk with our sons and with our daughters, with our flock and with our herd. For the solemnity of Yehovah is to us!” 10And he said unto them, “He will be so! Yehovah is with you, just as I will send you and your little-one! See ye that bad is straight-to your faces! 11Not established! Go-ye, na, valiant-ones! And serve ye Yehovah! For ye are seeking her!” And he forced them from with the faces of Pharaoh.
12And Yehovah said unto Draw [Moshe], “Stretch thine hand upon the land of Double-Adversity [Egypt] via the locust. And he has ascended upon the land of Double-Adversity [Egypt]. And he has eaten every herb of the land, all that remained the hail.” 13And Draw [Moshe] stretched his rod upon the land of Double-Adversity [Egypt]. And Yehovah guided the spirit of east in the land all that day and all the night. The morning was. And the spirit of the east carried the locust. 14And the locust ascended upon all the land of Double-Adversity [Egypt]. And he rested in every border of Double-Adversity [Egypt], very heavy. To his faces there was not established a locust like him, and after him he will not be established. 15And he covered the eye of all the land. And the land was darkened. And he ate every herb of the land and every fruit of the tree that remained the hail. And every green did not remain in a tree and in the herb of the field in all the land of Double-Adversity [Egypt].
16And Pharaoh hurried to call to Draw [Moshe] and to Oy!-Conception! [Aharon]. And he said, “I sinned to Yehovah your Gods and to you! 17And now, carry thou, na, my sin but the stroke, and entreat ye to Yehovah your Gods! And He has turned-away from upon me only this death!” 18And he exited from with Pharaoh.
And he entreated unto Yehovah. 19And Yehovah flipped-over the spirit of the sea, very gripping. And he carried the locust. And he blasted Ending Seaward. One locust did not remain in all the border of Double-Adversity [Egypt]. 20And Yehovah gripped the heart of Pharaoh. And he did not send the children of Israel.
21And Yehovah said unto Draw [Moshe], “Stretch thine hand upon the heavens. And darkness was upon the land of Double-Adversity [Egypt]. And he felt darkness.” 22And Draw [Moshe] stretched his hand upon the heavens. And darkness of gloom was in all the land of Double-Adversity [Egypt] three days. 23They did not see—a man his brother, and they did not arise—a man from his tuchases three days! And light was to all the children of Israel in their settlements.
24And Pharaoh called unto Draw [Moshe]. And he said, “Go ye! Serve ye Yehovah! Only your flock and your herd he will position. Also your little-one will walk with you!” 25And Draw [Moshe] said, “Also thou, thou wilt give into our hand sacrifices and ascensions? And we will do to Yehovah our Gods? 26And also our cattle will walk with us! A hoof will not remain! For we will take from us to serve Yehovah our Gods! And we, we will not know what we will serve Yehovah until our coming there!”
27And Yehovah gripped the heart of Pharaoh. And he did not consent to send them. 28And Pharaoh said to him, “Walk from upon me! Guard to thee! Do not add to see my faces! For in the day of thy seeing my faces, thou shalt die!” 29And Draw [Moshe] said, “Established! Thou hast spoken! I will not add further to see thy faces!”
I. The Purpose of Weighting a Heart (verses 1-2)
Yehovah told Moshe to again come unto Pharaoh. Yehovah took credit for ‘weighting’ Pharaoh’s heart and the heart of his slaves, giving the reasons:
- In order to put Yehovah’s signs in his midst
- So that this ‘thou’ will scroll what Yehovah Himself did in Egypt in the ears of his son and the son of his son
- So that this same ‘thou’ will scroll Yehovah’s signs that He placed in them
- So that this ‘ye’ will know that He is Yehovah.
1. What did Yehovah do when He weighted the heart of Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s slaves? Yehovah filled their minds with thoughts about what would happen to Egypt if the Israelis were to leave. Those thoughts were so heavy that they couldn’t think of other things.
2. Why did Yehovah do this? He did this in order to put these very signs (the plagues) in the midst (middle) of Pharaoh. He also did this so that the Israelis will tell in detail what Yehovah did in Egypt, including these signs. Later, the Israelis will come to know that He is Yehovah!
3. How did Yehovah put these signs in Pharaoh’s middle (midst)? Pharaoh represented all of Egypt. Yehovah put these miraculous signs in the very middle and heart of Egypt so that all the Egyptians and the Israelis knew that Yehovah was the source.
4. What does scroll mean in verse 2? It means to recount something in detailand in order.
5. Who is thy in, “in the ears of thy son and the son of thy son”? Yehovah is speaking to Moshe. Therefore, the obvious conclusion is that thy refers to Moshe. Yet, Yehovah also speaks to Moshe as if Moshe is all of Israel. He does this quite frequently. Thy in this text refers to Israel. All Israel will repeat what Yehovah did in the ears of Israel’s son and grandson—and not just one son, and not just one grandson; all Israel will repeat what Yehovah did in Egypt in the ears of every son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, and so on!
6. Have the Israelis realized that He is Yehovah? They haven’t! They didn’t even in Moshe’s day! They thought, for example, that Yehovah was a calf. This statement isn’t for Moshe’s day, but is rather directed to a future day a very long time from now when all Israel will know who Yehovah is and what signs He did in the midst of Egypt. Those signs will be similar to these, but will be performed during the future time known as the Tribulation. Yehovah did what He did in Moshe’s day as a preparation for what He will do in that future day.
II. The Locust Threat (verses 3-6)
Moshe and Aharon came. They told Pharaoh that Yehovah Gods of the Hebrews said, “Until when hast thou refused to humble from my faces?”
They then told Pharaoh what Yehovah further said: “Send my people, and he has served me!” This was the same message that Yehovah kept sending to Pharaoh.
Yehovah then gave the threat: “For if thou art refusing to send my people, behold I am bringing a locust into thy border tomorrow. And he will cover the eye of the land. And he will not be able to see the land. And he will eat the excess of the escapee remaining to you from the hail. And he will eat all the tree that springs-forth to you from the field!” This destruction will destroy the rest of the field crops.
Yehovah also sent the locusts to invade another area: “And they shall fill thy houses and the houses of all thy slaves and the houses of all Double-Adversity [Egypt] that thy fathers and fathers of thy fathers did not see from the day of their being upon the soil unto this day!”
Moshe then turned and exited from being with Pharaoh.
1. Consider what Moshe and Aharon said to a great king and pharaoh: “So said Yehovah Gods of the Hebrews, ‘Until when hast thou refused to humble from my faces?’” Weren’t Moshe and Aharon afraid to say such words to a man who could order their deaths for being so rude to a king and pharaoh? By now, they were not afraid. They knew that Pharaoh and his slaves were afraid of them! Moshe and Aharon were angry at Pharaoh, but they didn’t show that anger at this time. Instead, Yehovah showed His anger at their refusal to humble themselves from Yehovah’s faces!
2. Why is Yehovah angry when He is the one who keeps working on Pharaoh’s mind so that Pharaoh won’t send the Israelis? It is true that Yehovah keeps working on Pharaoh’s mind, but Yehovah isn’t causing Pharaoh to refuse to send the Israelis; Yehovah is rather causing Pharaoh to consider what will occur if Pharaoh does send the Israelis. Pharaoh is acting upon his own fears. Yehovah isn’t causing Pharaoh to do wrong. Pharaoh needs no help when it comes to doing wrong. The great signs tend to weaken Pharaoh’s unwillingness to send the Israelis; Yehovah reminds Pharaoh what will occur if he does send them. He therefore weighs down Pharaoh’s mind/heart.
Yehovah is angry because Pharaoh has refused to humble himself before the faces of Yehovah!
3. Again, why didn’t Yehovah just take His people out of Egypt instead of insisting that Pharaoh send them? The Israelis were guests in the land. In those cultures, it was rude for a guest to just leave without being sent by the host. Yehovah desired the Egyptian host to willingly send the Israelis out of the land.
4. What does bringing a locust into the land have to do with their sending the Israelis out of the land? It is a matter of economy—that is, of business. Pharaoh and his slaves are unwilling to send the Israelis because they are afraid of economic ruin and disaster. Yehovah is showing the Egyptians that He has an army that can do far greater damage to the Egyptian economy than they will experience by sending the Israelis.
5. Is Yehovah bringing just one locust? Why does He refer to the locust as if it is one? The entire and huge cloud of locusts will act as if they together are one giant locust. That will be far more frightening than individual locusts.
6. Would a locust attack like this be scary? What would it be like? It is like small birds that are locusts landing everywhere. If one tries to walk outside, the person will step on the locusts, and they will be squished. The person will find them very slippery while other locusts land on them. The sounds and sights will be worse than Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. While locusts don’t attack humans, they get in their hair, they land on their shoulders, they cling to their clothing, and they look rather fierce.
7. What does “he will cover the eye of the land” mean? The eye of anything is the most tender and delicate part, and is the most watered part. The locusts will land in all of Egypt, but especially in the best parts where the plants are growing well.
8. Who won’t be able to see the land, and what does this mean? The locust won’t be able to see the land because the locust is covering it!
9. What is “the escapee” that remains from the hail? The escapee refers to every green plant that didn’t get struck and ruined by the hail. Some plants survived the hail by being too young to be aboveground; other plants lost branches, but stayed alive.
10. How can the locust eat all the tree? Do locusts eat wood? These locusts will be very unusual since they will eat wood! They are more like termite locusts (which don’t exist).
11. What else, besides the above, will the locusts do? They will:
- Fill Pharaoh’s houses
- Fill Pharaoh’s slaves’ houses
- Fill all the houses in Egypt
- Be the worst locust attack that Egypt has ever experienced.
12. Did Pharaoh believe Moshe? Pharaoh knew that Moshe was speaking the truth. He believed him.
III. Slaves and Sense (verse 7)
Pharaoh’s slaves asked Pharaoh, “Until when will this be to us for a snare?” They wanted this destruction to stop. They then counseled Pharaoh: “Send the men! And they have served Yehovah their Gods!”
The slaves then asked Pharaoh a question: “Is it before thou wilt know that Double-Adversity [Egypt] perished?” They desired to know if Pharaoh would send the Israelis before or after Egypt finally is totally ruined.
1. What is this in, “Until when will this be to us for a snare?” This refers to Moshe. Folks refer to others as this in a number of texts. We would say something like this: this one or this person.
2. What did Pharaoh’s slaves advise Pharaoh to do? They advised Pharaoh to send the men.
3. When they said, “send the men,” did they mean the males? I propose that this is what he meant. He will shortly ask who will be going. The slaves thought that the men going alone would keep them from leaving, since their families and cattle were still in Egypt.
4. What did the slaves of Pharaoh mean by, “Is it before thou wilt know that Egypt perished?” They are asking if Pharaoh will refuse to send the Israelis until Egypt has completely perished and gone dead. Is Pharaoh waiting to see if Egypt will perish first?
IV. Pharaoh’s Strange Answer (verses 8-11)
Pharaoh now called Moshe and Aharon to return to Pharaoh. Pharaoh said, “Go ye! Serve ye Yehovah your Gods!” This very much sounded like permission! Yet, Pharaoh continued: “Who and who are the walking?” Pharaoh desired to know who all will be going!
Moshe answered, “We will walk with our youths and with our elders; we will walk with our sons and with our daughters, with our flock and with our herd.” Thus, everyone, including all the animals, will be walking. Moshe told why: “For the solemnity of Yehovah is to us!”
Pharaoh didn’t like this answer. He spoke sarcastically: “He will be so! Yehovah is with you, just as I will send you and your little-one!” He had no intention of sending them and their little-one—their children!
Pharaoh then threateningly spoke: “See ye that bad is straight-to your faces! Not established!” They are headed for trouble! His saying, “Not established,” is like saying, “No way!”
Pharaoh then told them who could go: “Go-ye, na, valiant-ones! And serve ye Yehovah! For ye are seeking her!” Thus, the valiant ones in Israel could go, but the rest could not.
In anger, Pharaoh forced Moshe and Aharon out of his faces—out of his sight.
1. Who returned Moshe and Aharon unto Pharaoh? Whoever this was had the authority to call them back. I can only think of three possibilities: Yehovah, the main slave of Pharaoh, or Pharaoh himself. The grammar doesn’t fit well for it being Pharaoh himself. If Yehovah returned them, Yehovah knew that Pharaoh desired to see them. If the main slave of Pharaoh did this, this would also show that Pharaoh was eager to speak with them.
2. When Pharaoh said, “Go ye! Serve ye Yehovah your Gods,” was he giving them permission? Yes, he was. As long as the group going out to serve Yehovah was approved, he was indeed giving permission.
3. What did Pharaoh mean by, “Who and who are the walking”? Pharaoh desired to know who will be going on this ‘serve Yehovah’ trip. He was not thinking that all Israel would go.
4. Who would be going, according to Moshe? All the Israelis would be going without exception. Their animals would also go.
5. What is a solemnity? It is a serious event—even if it is a happy event. It is an event that mustn’t be taken as a joke or as something both unimportant and fun. It is rather to be viewed as very important even if it is fun.
We speak of holidays (not referring to trips that Americans call vacations). A holiday at one time was a holy day—a serious day to remember something important. Yehovah calls important events to remember solemnities. All Yehovah’s solemnities are given to remember things in the future. They are not looking at past events except to show what will occur in the future. This is different from other gods and other religions.
6. What does “For the solemnity of Yehovah is to us” mean? This means that Yehovah’s solemnity must be done by us, and it belongs to us. We are the targets of Yehovah’s solemnity. (The us are the Israelis.)
7. Pharaoh’s next reply was, “He will be so!” What did he mean by this? He refers to the plan that Moshe just said. I propose that Pharaoh is sarcastically speaking—that is, that he is saying what sounds like his agreement when he is angrily telling them (by the next statement) that this will never occur.
8. Pharaoh continued, “Yehovah is with you, just as I will send you and your little-one!” What did he mean? Pharaoh determined to not send them and their little-one—that is, their children, but spoken as if they had only one child. Since he would never be sending them and their children, his reply was that Yehovah is with them to the same degree that he will send all the Israelis. In other words, Pharaoh is declaring that Yehovah isn’t with them at all! So, now, Pharaoh is acting as if he is a spokesperson for Yehovah!
9. What did Pharaoh mean by, “See ye that bad is straight-to your faces”? Pharaoh is now becoming threatening. The way they are going is going to lead them to harm or death. Bad in the Bible refers to some form of destruction, harm, loss, and even death.
10. When Pharaoh said, “Not established,” what was he saying? He was expressing the opposite of “He will be so”—that is, “He will be established.” He is declaring, “No way!”
11. To whom was he speaking when he said, “Go-ye, na, valiant-ones”? He was speaking to Moshe, to Aharon, and to all the strong Israeli men. He told them to go ahead, but in a threatening way—something like this: “You just try it!”
12. He continued with, “And serve ye Yehovah!” Was he giving permission? He was being very sarcastic. Sarcasm is a form of communication in which a person says the opposite of what the person means with a voice that shows contempt.
13. Pharaoh ended with this statement: “For ye are seeking her!” Who is the object of the pronoun, her? The word bad above is feminine. He is declaring that they are looking for bad—what we would say, looking for trouble.
14. Who forced them from Pharaoh? This appears to be the same one who brought them. If this is the case, I propose that it is the main slave of Pharaoh.
V. The Spirit and the Locust (verses 12-15)
Yehovah told Moshe to stretch his hand upon the land of Egypt by means of the locust. Once Moshe does this, the locust will have ascended upon the land of Egypt and will have eaten every herb of the land—everything that remains after the destruction of the hail. Moshe did this with his rod. Yehovah then guided the spirit of the east (which includes the east wind) in the land of Egypt all that day and through all the night.
When the morning came, the spirit of the east carried the locust! The locust ascended upon all the land of Egypt! The locust ‘rested’ (landed) in every border of Egypt in very heavy amounts! There was no locust that had ever been established like this, and there will never be like it again.
The locust covered ‘the eye of all the land’—the entire exposed portion of Egypt! The whole land became dark from the locust; its huge cloud covered the entire land!
The locust ate every herb of the land and every fruit of the tree that remained and that survived the hail! There wasn’t any green anywhere in any tree and among the herbs of the field in all the land of Egypt!
1. How could Moshe stretch his hand upon the land of Egypt via the locust? What does this mean? Moshe had the rod in his hand. This time, he was using that rod by means of the locust to call this creature to cover the land. The text doesn’t say that Moshe had to call the locust; stretching his hand was enough.
2. Did Pharaoh see Moshe do this? No! In this case, he didn’t. He is about to feel the results, but he forced Moshe and Aharon away from him.
3. What is “the spirit of east”? The same Hebrew word that means spirit also means wind. Yet, this text gives the reader the proper impression that there was a spirit who is over the east. There are four spirits who control and run the winds on earth, according to the Bible:
Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the land holding the four winds of the land so that the wind won’t blow on the land nor on the sea nor on any tree!
Those four angels are assigned to deal with the winds on this planet. If the winds stop, as they will in the Revelation event, the results will be terrible for all living things on the planet.
In the case of Egypt, it is different. The east wind/spirit will deliver the locusts so that they will come and cover Egypt alone.
4. The text states that the locust rested in every border of Egypt. Did that include the Israeli area? No. The Israelis only felt the first three of these plagues. There were no locusts in the Israeli area.
5. Was this locust like other locust plagues? Yehovah said, “To his faces there was not established a locust like him, and after him he will not be established.” This means that there will never be a locust like this one. There can be another locust attack that is as bad or worse, but it will be different. This one was unique.
6. What does “to his faces” mean, and whose faces are in mind? The expression means, before him—that is, in his sight, and straight in front of his face. Faces is always plural in Hebrew. The word his in to his faces refers to the border of Egypt. (The word for land is feminine, so that it can’t refer to the land.) Every border has faces; it faces toward a land and toward the outside of the land.
7. What is the eye of a land? It is the most sensitive and productive part—the part that is well-watered, like the human eye is well-watered.
8. Why was the land darkened? The locusts are darker in color than the soil, and their flying blocks out the sunlight.
9. How much did the locusts eat? They ate everything that could be eaten! (They even ate the trees. See verse 5.)
10. What were the Egyptians going to eat now that all their crops were gone? They could eat locusts; after all, they are kosher! Apart from that, they would have to purchase food from the Israelis. Though the Israelis were slaves, the Egyptians didn’t just take their things; that would have caused them to rebel as if the Egyptians were trying to kill them. The Israelis had food and crops still growing. The Israelis and the Egyptians had cattle.
VI. Pharaoh Hurries (verses 16-18)
Pharaoh was in a hurry to call Moshe and Aharon. He was also quick to confess that he sinned—not only against Yehovah, but also against Moshe and Aharon! His confession came with a request for them to carry his sin at this time and to entreat Yehovah so that Yehovah will turn away this particular death from him. Moshe exited from being with Pharaoh.
1. Why did Pharaoh hurry to call them? He knew that these creatures were destroying the land of Egypt, and thus destabilizing his authority, as well as ruining the economy. His people, the Egyptians, were in danger of starvation.
2. Was Pharaoh serious when he said, “I sinned to Yehovah your Gods and to you”? He was serious at the time; he was terrified. That doesn’t mean that he would remain that way.
3. What did Pharaoh mean by, “carry thou my sin”? The Hebrew word carry means what we expect it to mean in English, but it also is the Hebrew (and obviously the Egyptian) way of saying forgive. If one forgives another in Hebrew, that person agrees to carry the offense and its harm so that there can be peace. Every offense is a burden that the offended party must carry, but it is also a debt that the offender carries. If the offender asks the one offended to carry it, and the offended person agrees, the offense is now gone as far as both of them are concerned. (Sin always has two or more offended parties: the person who was hurt by the sin, and Yehovah Who was harmed by the sin. Every sin harms Yehovah. Every sin drove Him to provide a sacrifice worth more than the person who sinned. That is why one must also obtain forgiveness from Him; that is why one asks Him to carry the sin. That is also a very good reason to stop sinning.)
4. Pharaoh said, “carry thou, na, my sin but the stroke.” What does “the stroke” mean? This refers to the rhythm of time. It is as if a clock with a pendulum is running, and strikes every time it stops at one side or the other. Pharaoh was saying, forgive thou my sin but this time. He is very fearful.
5. Why didn’t Pharaoh entreat to Yehovah himself? Yehovah wasn’t his god, and he didn’t know how to entreat to this invisible deity. Whenever Pharaoh had previously asked them to entreat to stop a plague, they had done so, and the plague had ceased.
6. What death did Pharaoh fear? He feared either the starvation of his people, and what they would do to him because of it, or he feared dying in the midst of these terrifying locusts. No one among the Egyptians was able to sleep. No tomb would have been free of a locust if the door was opened!
7. Why is Gods plural? Even Pharaoh knew that Yehovah was all the Gods of Moshe and Aharon—the God of the land and the God of the sea; the God of prosperity and the God of the locusts; the God of the heavens and the God of physical death.
8. The text says, “And he exited from with Pharaoh.” Why didn’t Moshe say something before he exited? He didn’t need to say anything; his actions will speak louder than his words. Besides this, I suspect that all communications needed to be both loud and protected from invasion. No one wants a locust jumping into his mouth while he speaks!
9. What does “he exited from with Pharaoh” mean? Moshe was with Pharaoh during this conversation. Moshe left being with him—that is, he left the room.
VII. The Opposite Wind (verses 18-20)
Moshe entreated unto Yehovah, and Yehovah flipped over the spirit of the sea that gripped the land of Egypt. The spirit/wind carried the locust and blasted the locust toward the Ending Sea. The force was so great and so complete that not a single locust remained in all the border of Egypt.
Yehovah gripped Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh refused to send the children of Israel.
1. What did Yehovah do when He flipped over the spirit of the sea? He changed it completely to its reverse course so that the wind went in exactly the opposite direction. This is the wind/spirit that is over the sea. Since the spirit/wind of east brought them, that wind/spirit changed to the east. The sea is east of Egypt; the wind took them from Egypt and threw them into the sea.
2. What was very gripping? The wind was very gripping on the locusts. It grabbed them and removed them to such a degree that not a single locust was found in all the border of Egypt! That was a wind that would be of hurricane strength.
3. Who carried the locust? The wind carried the locust—that is, the spirit of the sea.
4. What does Ending Seaward mean? The Ending Sea is what we call the Red Sea, though it isn’t red, and it has absolutely nothing to do with reeds. It is the Ending Sea because it is where the Land of Israel ends to the south.
The expression, Ending Seaward, means toward the Ending Sea. Thus, “And he blasted Ending Seaward” means “And he blasted toward the Ending Sea.” The Hebrew language is very brief in its expressions.
5. What does blasted mean? The winds were so strong that they were hurricane force; they blasted means they gusted—wind gusts that picked up all the locusts in the land.
6. If one locust didn’t remain in all the border of Egypt, did even the dead locusts disappear? Even the dead ones were gone, the winds were so strong. Yehovah entirely removed all traces of them except that the land was eaten.
7. What did Yehovah do—that is, what does “Yehovah gripped the heart of Pharaoh” describe? Yehovah caused Pharaoh’s heart—that is, his mind—to grip and to cling to what he already thought—that Egypt cannot and must not afford for the Israelis to leave even for a few days. Yehovah never swayed Pharaoh’s mind to do wrong; He strengthened Pharaoh’s resolve—that is, his decision to go in a direction—so that Pharaoh stood firm on his (wrong) decisions.
8. Doesn’t this make Yehovah responsible for Pharaoh doing wrong? Anyone can help another to be resolved—that is, to stand firm—in a decision without agreeing with that decision and without being an accomplice in that decision. Yehovah kept on telling Pharaoh to send His people Israel from Egypt. Pharaoh kept on being undecided. Thus, Yehovah told him the right thing to do, but also firmed Pharaoh’s mind to make his decision. That aided Pharaoh to be firm. Yehovah was not helping Pharaoh to disobey Yehovah. If a reader thinks that Yehovah is helping Pharaoh to sin by firming his mind, that same reader will think that Yehovah is involved in every sin of the world since Yehovah gave every human physical and mental abilities that they use when they sin. That doesn’t make good sense.
VIII. Darkness and Horror (verses 21-23)
Yehovah again spoke to Moshe: “Stretch thine hand upon the heavens. And darkness was upon the land of Double-Adversity [Egypt]. And he felt darkness.”
Moshe did as he was told, and stretched his hand upon the heavens. Darkness of gloom became in all the land of Egypt for three days. The Egyptians did not see each other; an Egyptian could not see his own brother. They also didn’t arise from their own tuchases three days!
Light was to all the children of Israel in their settlements!
1. Who felt darkness (in, “And he felt darkness”)? I propose that this refers to each individual Egyptian. This was not a group terror; it was a terror that separated every Egyptian man, woman, child and baby from every other man, woman, child and baby.
2. How can one feel darkness? This darkness had a physical component (a physical part to it). It was as if a person were in a fog where the feeling of water from the fog can be felt, but this wasn’t water, and it wasn’t wet. It was like some physical item moved against their skin. They breathed this darkness in even while they felt it. This is like nightmares that some folks have. A person who is claustrophobic—that is, who is deathly afraid of tight or small enclosed places—would have found this almost deadly.
3. What does gloom mean in this text? This refers to a darkness that doesn’t permit hope or an end. It is like what one might experience in a nightmare where there is this darkness and terror of something unknown, and no way to see it.
4. Was darkness also an Egyptian deity? I propose that darkness wasn’t the deity, but the sun was. The Egyptians worshipped the Sun god. This was a conquering of the power of the Sun god.
5. Could the Egyptians just be brave, waiting for the three days of darkness to end? They had no idea that this darkness would ever end. During those three days, most would have concluded that they would die of thirst or starvation in that state as if they had been buried alive! Had they prayed to their Sun god, they would have soon lost hope in an ending.
6. If several Egyptians were in the same house, wouldn’t this have given them a little comfort to know that they were not alone? They didn’t even get up to go to each other! They heard each other, and the terrifying sounds and conversations would have made it worse, not better.
7. What does “they did not arise—a man from his tuchases three days” mean? The word tuchas is a Hebrew word meaning underneath. Some in English speak of the butt or the buttox, or even the tush. It is the human rear end. They sat down, and they didn’t get up for three days. Thus, they urinated and defecated (went to the bathroom—but not going to the room itself) right in place. They must have thought they were dead, or wishing they were dead.
8. Why didn’t they get up and go? This darkness produced a terror that kept them from going anywhere. They couldn’t sleep, they couldn’t eat; the only thing they could do very well was think.
9. Were the Israelis suffering with the same darkness? The darkness was upon all the land of Egypt, and was therefore in the Israeli settlement, too. However, wherever the Israelis were located, they had light in their settlements and where they sat or stood. Thus, they moved around and did their chores without a problem. They didn’t even need a candle; they had light everywhere.
10. What was the source of the light that all the Israelis had?
11. If Egyptians were in the Israeli settlements, did the Egypt have and see light? Yes. If the Egyptians were with the Israelis, the Egyptians too would have light. Yeshua later stated regarding the Israelis, ye are the light of the world.
12. If the light was to all the children of Israel, was it also to their parents? The word children used in the Bible always refers to offspring, and has no connection to age. These are the offspring of the man named Israel. He died many generations ago from this time, but they are still his offspring—his great, great, great… great grandchildren.
IX. Pharaoh Again Says Go (verses 24-26)
Pharaoh called unto Moshe. He commanded, “Go ye! Serve ye Yehovah!” This sounded like he had finally relented. He then added, “Only your flock and your herd he will position.” Pharaoh was not permitting them to take their flocks and their herds; they had to keep them in Egypt. He did add, “Also your little-one will walk with you!” Thus, they could take their children.
Moshe responded, “Also thou, thou wilt give into our hand sacrifices and ascensions?” They had to take their sheep and cattle in order to do sacrifices. Even if the Egyptians gave the Israelis the animals for sacrifices, Moshe asked, “And we will do to Yehovah our Gods?” This made no sense. Thus, Moshe continued, “And also our cattle will walk with us! A hoof will not remain! For we will take from us to serve Yehovah our Gods!”
Besides this, Moshe explained, “And we, we will not know what we will serve Yehovah until our coming there!”
1. How did Pharaoh call unto Moshe? The text doesn’t say. This was three days after Moshe had brought this on, and the darkness left.
2. What was Pharaoh demanding when he said, “Only your flock and your herd he will position”? He was demanding that the Israelis leave their animals while they go to serve Yehovah.
3. Why did Pharaoh insist that they leave their animals? There were several reasons:
- Pharaoh knew that the Israelis wouldn’t permanently leave their animals; those were their wealth and part of their diets.
- They Egyptians needed the Israelis’ animals; they purchased them and the Israelis also provided for their slavemasters. Egypt needed what the Israelis produced.
4. Why was Pharaoh so willing for them to now travel with their little one? Traveling with children will slow folks down. If Pharaoh and his army must pursue the Israelis, the children will keep them from going so far so fast.
5. Why did Moshe ask, “Also thou, thou wilt give into our hand sacrifices and ascensions?” He is asking this because the Israelis were going to do sacrifices. Will the Egyptians pay for the Israeli Holy Days? This was totally unreasonable. Besides this, sheep are abominations to Egyptians at this time.
6. Moshe continued, “And we will do to Yehovah our Gods?” What did he mean by this? Doing, in this case, referred to setting up and performing the sacrifices. Moshe was asking Pharaoh if Pharaoh was going to permit the Israelis to do sacrifices to a god whom Pharaoh and his people didn’t acknowledge. Would Pharaoh provide sacrifices for that?
7. What was Moshe telling Pharaoh when he said, “And also our cattle will walk with us”? Moshe was telling Pharaoh that the Israelis will go when they can also take their cattle and sheep!
8. What did he mean by, “A hoof will not remain”? Not even a piece of an animal of the Israelis will remain in Egypt!
9. What will the Israelis take from themselves to serve Yehovah? They will take animals from their own herds and flocks for the sacrifices, not those that belong to the Egyptians.
10. What would have been wrong with taking and using Egyptian-provided sacrifices to serve Yehovah? There would have been no problem except this: the Egyptians would have attacked and killed Israelis for using them in sacrifices to gods in whom they didn’t believe or even like.
11. Since they will not know what they will serve Yehovah until their coming to the three-days-journey location, do they have any idea of what they will serve Him? What does this mean? We think of serving someone a meal. In Hebrew, serving Yehovah isn’t providing a meal for Him, but it is doing what He commands to do. The Israelis won’t know of what the sacrifices will consist until they arrive at the location that Yehovah specifies. Thus, even if the Egyptians were willing to provide the animals, they couldn’t, since they wouldn’t know what Yehovah will require.
X. Moshe Thrust Out (verses 27-29)
Yehovah once again gripped the heart of Pharaoh. He refused to send the Israelis by not consenting to send them. Pharaoh now was very angry. He threatened Moshe: “Walk from upon me! Guard to thee!” He then added, “Do not add to see my faces! For in the day of thy seeing my faces, thou shalt die!”
Moshe responded, “Established! Thou hast spoken! I will not add further to see thy faces!” Moshe was also quite angry.
1. Yehovah again gripped Pharaoh’s heart. What does this describe that Yehovah did? Yehovah held on to Pharaoh’s mind, steadying it; and thus He aided Pharaoh in steadying his own mind regarding what he (Pharaoh) had already decided that he must not do: he mustn’t send the Israelis. Both Yehovah and Pharaoh are taking hold of Pharaoh’s mind so that Pharaoh will be strong in his decisions.
2. Why did Yehovah keep gripping Pharaoh’s mind? Yehovah determined to show his own power in Pharaoh. Had Pharaoh finally done what was right and reasonable, the power of Yehovah would not have become obvious to all concerned. Pharaoh had set his own mind to keep the Israelis as slaves. Yehovah knew this, and thus He showed His power to the Israelis, the Egyptians, the slaves of Pharaoh, and Pharaoh himself. Yehovah was not pleased with Pharaoh; his hard-headedness was not good in Yehovah’s eyes even if Yehovah’s power was shown. Instead, Pharaoh is an example to all readers of how stupid and obstinate a fool can be. Yehovah also is warning readers that Yehovah can confirm fools who will not change so that the fools run headlong into a disaster because of their own foolishness. Since Pharaoh was already minded this way, Yehovah just made certain that he didn’t back down because of Yehovah’s forces. Yehovah never forced Pharaoh to do right.
3. What does “Walk from upon me” mean? It means, “Go away from me!”
4. What does “Guard to thee” mean? It means, “Look out!”
5. What does “Do not add to see my faces” mean? This means, “Don’t come to see me again!” The expression, see my faces, is much more personal, however. It is as if Pharaoh is also saying, “Don’t come to see me to make any more requests!”
6. What was Pharaoh doing when he said, “For in the day of thy seeing my faces, thou shalt die”? He was threatening Moshe to kill him. Pharaoh now behaved as a king; he was through playing with Moshe.
7. Did Moshe agree to not see Pharaoh again? He agreed to not seek to see Pharaoh again. He was fed up with Pharaoh and with his stupidity! That doesn’t mean that Moshe never saw Pharaoh again; he did see him later.
8. Did Moshe now leave Pharaoh? Read on! See if he left or if he stayed! Stay tuned… Now for a word from our sponsor…