Exodus 10:1
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:
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(1-4) The eighth plague, like the third and fourth, was one where insect life was called in to serve God’s purposes, and chastise the presumption of His enemies. The nature of the visitation is uncontested and incontestable—it was a terrible invasion of locusts. Locusts are an occasional, though not a frequent, scourge in Egypt. They are not bred there, and necessarily arrive from some foreign country. When they descend, their ravages are as severe as elsewhere. “In the present day,” says Mr. Stuart Poole, “locusts suddenly appear in the cultivated land, coming from the desert in a column of great length. They fly across the country, darkening the air with their compact ranks, which are undisturbed by the constant attacks of kites, crows, and vultures, and making a strange whizzing sound, like that of fire, or many distant wheels. Where they alight they devour every green thing, even stripping the trees of their leaves. Rewards are offered for their destruction; but no labour can seriously reduce their numbers” (Dict. of the Bible, vol. ii., p. 887). C. Niebuhr witnessed two invasions—in 1761 and 1762; Denon witnessed another about the year 1800; and Tischendorf saw one recently. They always enter Egypt either from the south or from the east, and necessarily come with a wind, since they cannot possibly fly any considerable distance without one. It is probable that at different times different varieties of the locust visit the country; but all varieties are almost equally destructive. After the loss of their cattle by murrain and hail, and the ruin of the flax and barley crops by the latter agency, nothing was wanting to complete the desolation of the country and the impoverishment of its inhabitants but the ruin of the wheat and doora crops, which the locusts speedily effected.

(1) I have hardened . . . the heart of his servants.—They, too, had first hardened their own hearts (Exodus 9:34), and so deserved a penal hardening. A certain amount of responsibility rested on them. Had they allowed the miracles to have their full natural effect upon their minds, they would have been convinced that resistance was useless, and would have impressed their views upon the Pharaoh. Even in the most absolute governments public opinion has weight, and the general sentiment of the Court almost always carries the sovereign with it.

That I might shew these my signs.—There is nothing derogatory to the Divine Nature in a penal hardening being, as it were, utilised to increase the glory of God, and affect for good future generations of His people. The accumulation of plague upon plague, which the obduracy of Pharaoh and his subjects brought about, was of vast importance in presenting to Israel, and even to the surrounding nations, a manifestation of the tremendous power of God, calculated to impress them as nothing else would have done.

Exodus 10:1. Go unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart — That is, either, 1st, Go and make a new address unto him, for what I have yet done has but hardened his heart: or, 2d, כי, here translated for, must, as is often the case, be rendered although; go and speak to him again, although I have suffered his heart to be hardened, and to continue obdurate, that I might more fully display my power and providence, not only to Egypt and the adjacent countries, but to generations yet unborn, and especially to the posterity of my people Israel; that thou mayest tell (Exodus 10:2) in the ears of thy son, and thy son’s son, what things I have wrought. These plagues are standing monuments of the greatness of God, the happiness of the church, and the sinfulness of sin; and standing monitors to the children of men in all ages, not to provoke the Lord to jealousy, nor to strive with their Maker. The benefit of these instructions to the world doth sufficiently balance the expense.

10:1-11 The plagues of Egypt show the sinfulness of sin. They warn the children of men not to strive with their Maker. Pharaoh had pretended to humble himself; but no account was made of it, for he was not sincere therein. The plague of locusts is threatened. This should be much worse than any of that kind which had ever been known. Pharaoh's attendants persuade him to come to terms with Moses. Hereupon Pharaoh will allow the men to go, falsely pretending that this was all they desired. He swears that they shall not remove their little ones. Satan does all he can to hinder those that serve God themselves, from bringing their children to serve him. He is a sworn enemy to early piety. Whatever would put us from engaging our children in God's service, we have reason to suspect Satan in it. Nor should the young forget that the Lord's counsel is, Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth; but Satan's counsel is, to keep children in a state of slavery to sin and to the world. Mark that the great foe of man wishes to retain him by the ties of affection, as Pharaoh would have taken hostages from the Israelites for their return, by holding their wives and children in captivity. Satan is willing to share our duty and our service with the Saviour, because the Saviour will not accept those terms.Hardened - Different words in the Hebrew. In Exodus 9:34 the word means "made heavy," i. e. obtuse, incapable of forming a right judgment; in Exodus 9:35 it is stronger, and implies a stubborn resolution. CHAPTER 10

Ex 10:1-20. Plague of Locusts.

1. show these my signs, &c.—Sinners even of the worst description are to be admonished even though there may be little hope of amendment, and hence those striking miracles that carried so clear and conclusive demonstration of the being and character of the true God were performed in lengthened series before Pharaoh to leave him without excuse when judgment should be finally executed.The reason why God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, Exodus 10:1,2. Egypt threatened with locusts, Exodus 10:4. Pharaoh’s servants persuade him to let the Israelites go, Exodus 10:7. Pharaoh inquires of Moses who are they that shall go to serve the Lord, Exodus 10:8. Of Moses’s answer, Exodus 10:9. Pharaoh’s reply, Exodus 10:10,11. Locusts come over all Egypt, Exodus 10:13-15. Pharaoh sends for Moses, and confesseth his sin, Exodus 10:16,17. Moses prays to God, Exodus 10:18. The plague is stayed, Exodus 10:19. Pharaoh’s heart hardened, Exodus 10:20. The ninth plague, to wit, darkness over all Egypt, Exodus 10:22,23. Pharaoh would let Israel go, but without cattle, Exodus 10:24. Moses will not leave a hoof behind, Exodus 10:25,26. Pharaoh hardened, Exodus 10:27; and charges Moses, upon pain of death, never to appear in his sight any more, Exodus 10:28; which also came to pass, Exodus 10:29.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And the Lord said unto Moses, go in unto Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart,.... Or, as some render it, "though I have hardened his heart" (u); or otherwise it would seem rather to be a reason he should not go, than why he should; at least it would be discouraging, and he might object to what purpose should he go, it would be in vain, no end would be answered by it; though there was an end God had in view, and which was answered by hardening his heart:

and the heart of his servants; whose hearts also were hardened until now; until the plague of the locusts was threatened, and then they relent; which end was as follows:

that I might shew these my signs before him; which had been shown already, and others that were to be done, see Exodus 7:3 or in the midst of him (w), in the midst of his land, or in his heart, see Exodus 9:14.

(u) "quamvis", Piscator; so Ainsworth. (w) "in medio ejus", Pagninus, Drusius; "in interioribus ejus", Montanus.

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 show these my signs before him:
1a. Go in unto Pharaoh] as before in J: Exodus 8:1, Exodus 9:1.

1b, 2. Explanation to Moses of the reason of the command. In previous cases the command to go in to the Pharaoh is followed at once by the words, and say unto him, and the demand for the release of the people (Exodus 8:1; Exodus 8:20, Exodus 9:1; Exodus 9:13); and it is possible that Di. and others are right in regarding vv. 1b, 2 as a didactic addition (similar to Exodus 9:14-16) made by the compiler of JE, who at the same time substituted at the beginning of v. 3 ‘And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him’ for an original ‘and say unto him’ (the direct sequel to v. 1a ‘Go in unto Pharaoh’). It may be noticed that in v. 6 ‘And he (i.e. Moses) turned,’ at the end of the interview with Pharaoh, rather suggests that,—in accordance with the command in v. 1, but against v. 3 as it at present stands,—originally Moses alone ‘went in’ to Pharaoh.

1b. for I (emph.) have hardened] Heb. made heavy, the term used by J (see on Exodus 7:13).

shew] Heb. put: cf. the synonym, sâm, ‘set,’ in v. 2.

signs] cf. v. 2, Exodus 7:3 (P), Exodus 8:23 (J), Numbers 14:11; Numbers 14:22 (JE), and often in Dt. (Deuteronomy 4:34, Deuteronomy 6:22 al.); see p. 59. The thought, as Exodus 9:16.

of them] Heb. of it, i.e. of the people of Egypt (Exodus 3:20), which, however, has not been previously mentioned. ‘Them’ is right (so LXX. Pesh. Onk.); but it implies a change of text (בקרבם for בקרבו).

1–20. The eighth plague. The locusts. From J, with short passages from E.

Verses 1-20. - THE EIGHTH PLAGUE. Notwithstanding his self-condemnation and acknowledgment of the righteousness of God in all the judgments that had been sent upon him (Exodus 9:27), Pharaoh no sooner found that the seventh plague had ceased than he reverted to his old obstinacy. He both wilfully hardened his own heart (Exodus 9:34); and God, by the unfailing operation of his moral laws, further blunted or hardened it (Exodus 10:1). Accordingly, it became necessary that his stubbornness should be punished by one other severe infliction. Locusts, God's "great army," as they are elsewhere called (Joel 2:25), were the instrument chosen, so that once more the judgment should seem to come from heaven, and that it should be exactly fitted to complete the destruction which the hail had left unaccomplished (ver. 5). Locusts, when they come in full force, are among the most terrible of all the judgments that can befall a country. "A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness" (Joel 2:3). They destroy every atom of foliage - crops, vegetables, shrubs, trees - even the bark of the fruit-trees suffers - the stems are injured, the smaller branches completely peeled and "made white" (Joel 1:7). When Moses threatened this infliction, his words produced at once a great effect. The officers of the court - "Pharaoh's servants," as they are called - for the first time endeavoured to exert an influence over the king - "Let the men go," they said; "knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?" (ver. 7). And the king so far yielded that - also for the first time - he let himself be influenced by the mere threat of a judgment. He would have let the Israelites depart, before the locusts came, if only they would have left their "little ones" behind them (vers. 8-11 ). Moses, however, could not consent to this limitation; and so the plague came in fall severity the locusts covered the whole face of the earth, so that the land was darkened with them (ver. 15); and all that the hail had left, including the whole of the wheat and doora harvests, was destroyed. Then Pharaoh made fresh acknowledgment of his sin, and fresh appeals for intercession - with the old result that the plague was removed, and that he remained as obdurate as ever (vers. 16-20). Verse 1. - Go in unto Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart. The word "I" is expressed in the original and is emphatic. It is not merely that Pharaoh has hardened himself (Exodus 9:34); but I have "dulled" or "hardened" him. Therefore condescend to see him once more, and to bear my message to him. The heart of his servants. Compare Exodus 9:34. As Pharaoh's determination began to waver the influence of the court officers increased. Hence the frequent mention of them in this part of the narrative. That I might shew them my signs. The "fierceness of man" was being "turned to God's praise." It resulted from the obstinacy of Pharaoh that more and greater miracles were wrought, more wonderful signs shown, and that by these means both the Israelites themselves, and the heathen nations in contact with them, were the more deeply impressed. Exodus 10:1The eighth plague; the Locusts. - Exodus 10:1-6. As Pharaoh's pride still refused to bend to the will of God, Moses was directed to announce another, and in some respects a more fearful, plague. At the same time God strengthened Moses' faith, by telling him that the hardening of Pharaoh and his servants was decreed by Him, that these signs might be done among them, and that Israel might perceive by this to all generations that He was Jehovah (cf. Exodus 7:3-5). We may learn from Psalm 78 and 105 in what manner the Israelites narrated these signs to their children and children's children. אתת שׁית, to set or prepare signs (Exodus 10:1), is interchanged with שׂוּם (Exodus 10:2) in the same sense (vid., Exodus 8:12). The suffix in בּקרבּו (Exodus 10:1) refers to Egypt as a country; and that in בּם (Exodus 10:2) to the Egyptians. In the expression, "thou mayest tell," Moses is addressed as the representative of the nation. התעלּל: to have to do with a person, generally in a bad sense, to do him harm (1 Samuel 31:4). "How I have put forth My might" (De Wette).
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