We’re in the middle of the Ten Plagues. We’ve had blood, frogs, gnats, flies, dead livestock, boils and hail.
But God has hardened Pharoah’s heart “in order that you know that I am God,” and also “so that you can tell your grandchildren how I dealt with Egypt.”
Moses and Aaron go before Pharoah and say “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? If you refuse to humble yourself before God, I will send a plague of locusts that will cover every inch of the ground. And they will eat whatever crops are left over from the hailstorms.”
(In case you’re curious, desert locusts, which look like grasshoppers, are still a plague in the Mideast and Northern Africa today. A desert locust swarm can be 460 square miles in size and pack between 40 and 80 million locusts into less than half a square mile. Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day!)
Now back to our story.
Pharoah sends Moses and Aaron out of the room and Pharoah’s advisors urge Pharoah to set the Hebrews free.
Pharoah calls back Moses and Aaron and asks them which Hebrews he wants to take out from Egypt. Moses says all of them – men, women children, sheep and oxen. Pharoah says only the males can go and has Moses and Aaron driven from his presence.
Now God tells Moses to stretch out his hand so that the locusts will cover Egypt, eating all the plants of the land (which we know locusts can do!)
Moses stretches out his arm and the swarm is carried in on an east wind. What a mess! Nothing of crops or trees is left!
Pharoah calls Moses and Aaron. “I have sinned,” he says. Please lift this plague.”
So Moses goes out and pleads with God, who sends a strong sea wind which carries all the locusts away, into the Sea of Reeds.
Sadly, God has made Pharoah’s heart strong-willed.
So God tells Moses to stretch out his hand and gloomy darkness covers Egypt, except where the Hebrews live.
Pharoah calls Moses and Aaron and offers a compromise: take out all your people, even the children, but we get to keep your sheep and your oxen.
No, says Moses. We keep our livestock.
So Pharoah digs in his heels and refuses to set the Children of Israel free.
Pharoah tells Moses to get out of his sight, and threatens Moses with death if he comes back!
Moses leaves and God tells him that he’s going to send one more plague. Tell the people to collect silver and gold from your Egyptian neighbors, God tells him.
God makes the Egyptians greatly respect the Israelites, and everyone, including the king’s officials, considers Moses an important leader.
Food for Thought
Do you think it’s fair that God hardened Pharoah’s heart?