Exodus 10:15
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) They covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened.—See the comment on Exodus 10:5, and compare also Clarke’s Travels in Russia, p. 445:—“The steppes were literally covered with the bodies of these insects. . . . The whole face of nature seemed to be concealed as by a living veil.”

They did eat every herb of the land.—“When these animals arrive in swarms,” says Clarke, “the whole vegetable produce disappears. Nothing escapes them, from the leaves of the forest to the herbs of the plain” (Travels, pp. 446, 447). “It is sufficient,” observes a traveller in Spain, “if these terrible columns stop half an hour on a spot, for everything growing on it—vines, olive-trees, and corn—to be entirely destroyed. After they have passed, nothing remains but the large branches and the roots, which, being underground, have escaped their voracity.”

All the fruit of the trees.—Egypt was famous for its fruits, which consisted of figs, grapes, olives, mulberries, pomegranates, dates, pears, plums, apples, peaches, and the produce of the persea, and the nebk, or sidr. The fruit of the nebk would be ripe in March, and the blossom-buds of the other fruit-trees would be formed, or even opening. On the damage which locusts do to fruit-trees, see the comment on Exodus 10:5, and add the following:—“When the weeds in the vineyards do not supply them with sufficient nutriment, they completely strip the bark and buds off the young twigs, so that these shoots remain throughout the summer as white as chalk, without producing fresh foliage” (Pallas, Travels, vol. ii., p. 425).

Which the hail had left.—See Exodus 9:25, and comp. Psalm 105:32-33 :—“He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land; he smote their vines also, and their fig trees, and brake the trees of their coasts.”

Exodus 10:15. They did eat every green herb of the land — There seems to have been some distance of time between the last plague and this, during which, in that warm and fertile country, new productions had sprouted forth, both out of the ground and from the trees. There remained not any green thing — The earth God has given to the children of men; yet when he pleaseth he can disturb their possession of it, even by locusts and caterpillars. Herb grows for the service of man, yet, when God pleaseth, these contemptible insects shall not only be fellow-commoners with him, but shall eat the bread out of his mouth.

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.Went up - At a distance the locusts appear hanging, as it were, like a heavy cloud over the land; as they approach they seem to rise, and they fill the atmosphere overhead upon their arrival.

Over all the land - Travelers mention a cloud of locusts extending over 500 miles, and so compact while on the wing that it completely hid the sun. This passage describes a swarm unprecedented in extent.

13-19. the Lord brought an east wind—The rod of Moses was again raised, and the locusts came. They are natives of the desert and are only brought by an east wind into Egypt, where they sometimes come in sun-obscuring clouds, destroying in a few days every green blade in the track they traverse. Man, with all his contrivances, can do nothing to protect himself from the overwhelming invasion. Egypt has often suffered from locusts. But the plague that followed the wave of the miraculous rod was altogether unexampled. Pharaoh, fearing irretrievable ruin to his country, sent in haste for Moses, and confessing his sin, implored the intercession of Moses, who entreated the Lord, and a "mighty strong west wind took away the locusts." The land was darkened; either by their flying in vast numbers, and so darkening the air, as they have ofttimes done; or by covering the green and lightsome herbs and productions of the earth with their dark and direful bodies.

They did eat every herb of the land. How could this be, when the hail had smitten every herb, and broken every tree? Exodus 9:25.

Answ. 1. There seems to have been some distance of time between these two plagues, in which space new productions might be sprouting forth, both out of the ground, and from the trees.

2. The words all and every are commonly understood of the greatest part.

For they covered the face of the whole earth,.... Of the whole land of Egypt; and this seems to be the instance in which these locusts differed from all others, that had been or would be, even in their numbers; for though there might have been before, and have been since, such vast numbers of them together as to darken the air and the sun, and by lighting first on one spot, and then on another, have destroyed whole countries; yet never was such an instance known as this, as that they should come in so large a body, and at once to light, and spread, and settle themselves over the whole country. Leo Africanus (p) indeed speaks of a swarm of locusts, which he himself saw at Tagtessa in Africa, A. D. 1510, which covered the whole surface of the ground; but then that was but in one place, but this was a whole country. It is in the original, "they covered the eye of the whole earth"; of which See Gill on Exodus 10:5.

so that the land was darkened; the proper colour of the earth, and the green grass on it, could not be seen for them, they lay so thick upon it; and being perhaps of a brown colour, as they often are, the land seemed dark with them:

and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees, which the hail had left; for though every herb of the field is said to be smitten, and every tree of the field to be broke with it, Exodus 9:25, yet this, as has been observed, is to be understood either hyperbolically, or of the greater part thereof, but not of the whole:

and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt; the like is said to befall the province of Carpitania, in the nineth year of Childibert, king of France; which was so wasted by locusts, that not a tree, nor a vineyard, nor a forest, nor any sort of fruit, nor any other green thing remained (q). So Dr. Shaw (r) says of the locusts he saw as above related, that they let nothing escape them, eating up everything that was green and juicy, not only the lesser kinds of vegetables, but the vine likewise, the fig tree, the pomegranate, the palm, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field. But then such devastations are usually made gradually, by these creatures moving from place to place, whereas this destruction in Egypt was done in one day. Indeed we are told in history, that in one country one hundred and forty acres of land were destroyed in one day (s); but what is this to all the land of Egypt? with this plague may be compared that of the locusts upon the sounding of the fifth trumpet, Revelation 9:1.

(p) Descriptio Africae, l. 2. p. 117. (q) Frantzii Hist. Animal. Sacr. par. 5. c. 4. p. 802. (r) Ut supra. (Travels, p. 187. Edit. 2.) (s) Frantz. ib. p. 800.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. was darkened] i.e. hidden (cf. v. 5) by the multitude of locusts resting upon it. Cf. the description of Thomson, cited on v. 5, ‘the whole face of the mountain was black with them’; and of the Jaffa invasion in 1865 (Joel, p. 90), ‘in parts they covered the ground for miles to a height of several inches.’

not any green thing] cf. the last note on v. 5.

Verse 15. - The land was darkened. It is not quite clear whether the darkness here spoken of was caused by the locusts when they were still on the wing or after they had settled. It is a fact that the insects come in such dense clouds that while on the wing they obscure the light of the sun, and turn noonday into twilight. And it is also a fact that with their dull brownish bodies and wings they darken the ground after they have settled. Perhaps it is most probable that this last is the fact noticed. (Compare ver. 5.) All the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. Injury to fruit by the hail had not been expressly mentioned in the account of that plague, though perhaps it may be regarded as implied in the expression - that the hail "brake every tree of the field" (ver. 25). The damage which locusts do to fruit is well known. They devour it with the green crops, the herbage, and the foliage, before setting to work upon the harder materials, as reeds, twigs, and the bark of trees. In Egypt the principal fruits would be figs, pomegranates; mulberries, grapes, olives, peaches, pears, plums, and apples; together with dates, and the produce of the persea, and the nebk or sidr. The fruit of the nebk is ripe in March. There remained not any green thing. "It is sufficient," observes one writer, "if these terrible columns stop half an hour on a spot, for everything growing on it, vines, olive-trees, and corn, to be entirely destroyed. After they have passed, nothing remains but the large branches and the roots, which, being underground, have escaped their voracity." "Where-ever they settle," says another, "it looks as if fire had burnt up everything." "The country did not seem to be burnt," declares a third, "but to be covered with snow, through the whiteness of the trees and the dryness of the herbs." A fourth sums up his account of the ravages committed by locusts thus - "According to all accounts, wherever the swarms of locusts arrive, the vegetables are entirely consumed and destroyed, appearing as if they had been burnt by fire." Exodus 10:15The darkening of the land, and the eating up of all the green plants by swarms of locusts, have been described by many eye-witnesses of such plagues. "Locustarum plerumque tanta conspicitur in Africa frequentia, ut volantes instar nebulae solis radios operiant" (Leo Afric). "Solemque obumbrant" (Pliny, h. n. ii. 29).
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