Exodus 10:19
And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) The Lord turned a mighty strong west wind . . . —As locusts come, so they commonly go, with a wind. They cannot fly far without one. It often happens that a wind blows them into the sea. Pallas says, speaking of Crimean locusts in the year 1799:—“Great numbers of them were carried [from the Crimea] by northerly winds into the sea, where they perished, and were afterwards washed on shore in heaps” (Travels, vol. ii., p. 424).

The Red sea.—Heb., the sea of weeds, or of rushes. The Red Sea probably acquired this name among the Hebrews from the fact that in the time of Moses its north-western recess communicated with a marshy tract, extending as far as the Bitter Lakes, and abounding in aquatic plants of a luxuriant growth. (Comp. Exodus 2:3, where the same term designates the water-plants of the Nile.)

There remained not one locust . . . —Niebuhr says of locusts in Arabia:—“Souvent il en reste beaucoup après le départ général” (Description de l’ Arabie, p. 153). But, on the other hand, there are times when the whole swarm takes its departure at once. “A wind from the south-west,” says Morier, “which had brought them, so completely drove them forwards that not a vestige of them was to be seen two hours afterwards” (Second Journey, p. 98).

Exodus 10:19. An east wind brought the locusts, and now a west wind carried them off. Whatever point of the compass the wind is in, it is fulfilling God’s word, and turns about by his counsel; the wind blows where it listeth for us, but not where it listeth for him; he directeth it under the whole heaven.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.West wind - Literally, "a sea wind," a wind blowing from the sea on the northwest of Egypt.

Red sea - The Hebrew has the "Sea of Suph": the exact meaning of which is disputed. Gesenius renders it "rush" or "seaweed;" but it is probably an Egyptian word. A sea-weed resembling wood is thrown up abundantly on the shores of the Red Sea. The origin of the name "Red" Sea is uncertain: (naturalists have connected it with the presence of red infusoria, Exodus 7:17).

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." A mighty strong west wind; Heb. a wind of the sea, i.e. coming from the sea, called there the great sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, from whence came the north-west wind, which did blow the locusts directly into the Red Sea.

Cast them, as the Hebrew word signifies, with a great noise, and with great force, so as they should never rise again to molest them.

The Red Sea; Heb. the sea of bulrushes, so called from the great number of bulrushes near its shore; or, the sea of bounds or limits, q.d. the narrow sea, whereas they could see no bounds nor shore beyond the Mediterranean Sea. It was called the Arabian Gulf, and by others the Red Sea, either from its red sand, or rather from Esau, called also Edom, which signifies red, Genesis 25:30, from whom as the adjoining country was called Edom, or red, so this was called the Red Sea. And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind,.... He turned the wind the contrary way it before blew; it was an east wind that brought the locusts, but now it was changed into a west wind, or "a wind of the sea" (u), of the Mediterranean sea; a wind which blew from thence, which lay to the west of Egypt, as the Red sea did to the east of it, to which the locusts were carried by the wind as follows: which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; and as it is usual for locusts to be brought by winds, so to be carried away with them, and to be let fall into seas, lakes, and pools, and there perish. So Pliny says (w) of locusts, that being taken up and carried with the wind in flocks or swarms, they fell into seas and lakes; and Jerom observes (x) in his time, that they had seen swarms of locusts cover the land of Judea, which upon the wind rising have been driven into the first and last seas; that is, into the Dead sea, and into the Mediterranean sea; see Joel 2:20. This sea here called the Red sea is the same which is now called the Arabian gulf; in the original text it is the sea of Suph; that is, the sea of flags or rushes; as the word is rendered, Exodus 2:3 from the great numbers of these growing on the banks of it, which are full of them, as Thevenot (y) says; or the "sea of weeds" (z), from the multitude of them in the bottom of it, or floating on it. So Columbus found in the Spanish West Indies, on the coast of Paria, a sea full of herbs, or weeds (a), which grew so thick, that they sometimes in a manner stopped the ships. Some render Yam Suph, the sea of bushes; and some late travellers (b) observe, that though, in the dreadful wilds along this lake, one sees neither tree, shrub, nor vegetable, except a kind of bramble, yet it is remarkable that they are found in the sea growing on its bottom, where we behold with astonishment whole groves of trees blossoming and bearing fruit, as if nature by these marine vegetables meant to compensate for the extreme sterility reigning in all the deserts of Arabia; and with this agrees the account that Pliny (c) gives of the Red sea, that in it olives and green fruit trees grow; yea, he says that that and all the Eastern ocean is full of woods; and adds, it is wonderful that in the Red sea woods live, especially the laurel, and the olive bearing berries. Hillerus (d) thinks this sea here has the name of the sea of Suph from a city of the same name near unto it. It is often called the Red sea in profane authors as here, not from the coral that grew in it, or the red sand at the bottom of it, or red mountains near it; though Thevenot (e) says, there are some mountains all over red on the sides of it; nor from the shade of those mountains upon it; nor from the appearance of it through the rays of the sun upon it; and much less from the natural colour of it; which, as Curtius (f) observes, does not differ from others; though a late traveller says (g), that"on several parts of this sea (the Red sea) we observed abundance of reddish spots made by a weed resembling "cargaco" (or Sargosso) rooted in the bottom, and floating in some places: upon strict examination, it proved to be that which we found the Ethiopians call Sufo (as here Suph), used up and down for dying their stuffs and clothes of a red colour,''but the Greeks called it so from Erythras or Erythrus, a king that reigned in those parts (h), whose name signifies red; and it is highly probable the same with Esau, who is called Edom, that is, red, from the red pottage he sold his birthright for to Jacob; and this sea washing his country, Idumea or Edom, was called the Red sea from thence; and here the locusts were cast by the wind, or "fixed" (i), as a tent is fixed, as the word signifies, and there continued, and never appeared more:

there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt; so that the removal of them was as great a miracle as the bringing them at first: this was done about the nineth day of the month Abib.

(u) "venture maris", Montanus, Drusius. (w) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 29. (x) Comment. in Joel, ii. 20. (y) Travels into the Levant, B. 2. ch. 33. p. 175. (z) "in mare algosum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "in mare carectosum", Tigurine version. (a) P. Martyr. de Angleria, Decad. 1. l. 6. Vide Decad. 3. 5. (b) Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 2. p. 158. (c) Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 103. l. 13. c. 25. (d) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 128. (e) Ut supra. (Travels into the Levant, B. 2. ch. 33. p. 175.) (f) Hist. l. 8. sect. 9. (g) Hieronymo Lobo's Observations, &c. in Ray's Travels, vol. 2. p. 489. (h) Curtius ut supra. (Hist. l. 8. sect. 9.). Mela de Situ Orbis, l. 3. c. 8. Strabo, l. 16. p. 535, 536. (i) "et fixit eam", Montanus; so Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Ainsworth.

And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the {g} Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.

(g) The water seemed red, because the sand or gravel is red: the Hebrews call it the Sea of bulrushes.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. turned, &c.] i.e. caused by a change a west wind to blow.

west wind] Heb. a sea-wind. The ‘west’ is regularly in Heb. the sea (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:14, &c.). The idiom must have formed itself in Palestine, where the ‘sea’ was on the west. It is a common fate of locust swarms to be driven away by the wind, and to perish in the sea. Cf. Joel 2:20, with the writer’s note (p. 60). Pliny (H.N. xi. 35) writes, ‘Gregatim sublatae vento in maria aut stagna decidunt.’ The swarm described by Denon (on v. 4) was driven back by a change of wind into the desert on the East.Verse 19. - And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind. Literally, "a very strong sea-wind" - i.e. one which blew from the Mediterranean, and which might, therefore, so far, be north, north-west, or north-east. As it blew the locusts into the "Sea of Weeds," i.e. the Red Sea, it must have been actually a north-west wind, and so passing obliquely over Egypt, have carried the locusts in a south-easterly direction. Cast them into the Red Sea. Literally, "the Sea of Weeds." No commentater doubts that the Red Sea is here meant. It 'seems to have received its Hebrew appellation, Yam Suph, "Sea of Weeds," either from the quantity of sea-weed which it throws up, or, more probably, from the fact that anciently its north-western recess was connected with a marshy tract extending from the present head of the Gulf of Suez nearly to the Bitter Lakes, in which grew abundant weeds and water-plants. There remained not one locust. The sudden and entire departure of locusts is as remarkable as their coming. "At the hour of prime," says one writer, "they began to depart, and at midday there was not one remaining.", "A wind from the south-west," says another, "which had brought them, so completely drove them forwards that not a vestige of them was to be seen two hours afterwards" (Morier, 'Second Journey,' p. 98). "An east wind: not νότος (lxx), the south wind, as Bochart supposed. Although the swarms of locusts are generally brought into Egypt from Libya or Ethiopia, and therefore by a south or south-west wind, they are sometimes brought by the east wind from Arabia, as Denon and others have observed (Hgstb. p. 120). The fact that the wind blew a day and a night before bringing the locusts, showed that they came from a great distance, and therefore proved to the Egyptians that the omnipotence of Jehovah reached far beyond the borders of Egypt, and ruled over every land. Another miraculous feature in this plague was its unparalleled extent, viz., over the whole of the land of Egypt, whereas ordinary swarms are confined to particular districts. In this respect the judgment had no equal either before or afterwards (Exodus 10:14). The words, "Before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such," must not be diluted into "a hyperbolical and proverbial saying, implying that there was no recollection of such noxious locusts," as it is by Rosenmller. This passage is not at variance with Joel 2:2, for the former relates to Egypt, the latter to the land of Israel; and Joel's description unquestionably refers to the account before us, the meaning being, that quite as terrible a judgment would fall upon Judah and Israel as had formerly been inflicted upon Egypt and the obdurate Pharaoh. In its dreadful character, this Egyptian plague is a type of the plagues which will precede the last judgment, and forms the groundwork for the description in Revelation 9:3-10; just as Joel discerned in the plagues which burst upon Judah in his own day a presage of the day of the Lord (Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1), i.e., of the great day of judgment, which is advancing step by step in all the great judgments of history or rather of the conflict between the kingdom of God and the powers of this world, and will be finally accomplished in the last general judgment.
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