|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:12-20 God bids Moses stretch out his hand; locusts came at the call. An army might more easily have been resisted than this host of insects. Who then is able to stand before the great God? They covered the face of the earth, and ate up the fruit of it. Herbs grow for the service of man; yet when God pleases, insects shall plunder him, and eat the bread out of his mouth. Let our labour be, not for the habitation and meat thus exposed, but for those which endure to eternal life. Pharaoh employs Moses and Aaron to pray for him. There are those, who, in distress, seek the help of other people's prayers, but have no mind to pray for themselves. They show thereby that they have no true love to God, nor any delight in communion with him. Pharaoh desires only that this death might be taken away, not this sin. He wishes to get rid of the plague of locusts, not the plague of a hard heart, which was more dangerous. An east wind brought the locusts, a west wind carries them off. Whatever point the wind is in, it is fulfilling God's word, and turns by his counsel. The wind bloweth where it listeth, as to us; but not so as it respects God. It was also an argument for their repentance; for by this it appeared that God is ready to forgive, and swift to show mercy. If he does this upon the outward tokens of humiliation, what will he do if we are sincere! Oh that this goodness of God might lead us to repentance! Pharaoh returned to his resolution again, not to let the people go. Those who have often baffled their convictions, are justly given up to the lusts of their hearts.
Verse 14. - The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt. This statement is very emphatic, and seems to imply that the plague was more widely extended than any that had preceded it. Egypt extends about 520 miles from north to south, but except in the Delta is not more than about 20 miles wide. Columns of locusts of the length of 500 miles have been noticed by travellers (Moor in Kirby on Entomology, letter 6.), and 20 miles is not an unusual width for them. But such a length and such a breadth are not elsewhere recorded in combination. Thus the visitation was, in its extent as well as in its circumstances, plainly abnormal.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt,.... Being raised up by the wind in the places where they were generated, they flew and spread themselves all over the land, being in a wonderful manner produced and multiplied by the power of God:
and rested in all the coasts of Egypt; in every part of it where the Egyptians dwelt, and where there were meadows, pastures, fields, gardens, orchards; here they lighted and fed, excepting the land of Goshen, where Israel dwelt, which must be thought to be exempted from this plague, as from the rest.
Very grievous were they; because of the mischief that they did, and because of their multitude, for they were innumerable, as the Vulgate Latin version renders it, and as it is, Psalm 105:34,
there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such; there were none before, and there would be none afterwards like them, which Moses knew by a spirit of prophecy. If this is to be understood of their size, they must be very large; in the year 1556, there were locusts at Milain that were a span long, and had six feet, and these like the feet of rats, and there was one four times bigger than the rest, which was taken and kept by a citizen, and would hiss like a serpent when it saw that no food was set before it (n); yea, Pliny (o) speaks of locusts in India three feet long; and what Moses here says is not contradicted in Joel 2:2 because his words may be understood of the Chaldean army, of which the locusts were an emblem; and besides, each may be restrained to the country in which they were, as that none ever before or since were seen in Egypt as these, though they might be in other countries; and so those in Joel's time were such as never before or since were seen in the land of Judea, though they might be in other places.
(n) Frantzii Hist. Animal. Sacr. par. 5. c. 4. p. 800. (o) Ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 29.)
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