Exodus 10

* The plague of locusts threatened, Pharaoh, moved by his

servants, inclines to let the Israelites go. (1-11) The plague

of locusts. (12-20) The plague of thick darkness. (21-29)

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.
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.
21-29 The plague of darkness brought upon Egypt was a dreadful

plague. It was darkness which might be felt, so thick were the

fogs. It astonished and terrified. It continued three days; six

nights in one; so long the most lightsome palaces were dungeons.

Now Pharaoh had time to consider, if he would have improved it.

Spiritual darkness is spiritual bondage; while Satan blinds

men's eyes that they see not, he binds their hands and feet,

that they work not for God, nor move toward heaven. They sit in

darkness. It was righteous with God thus to punish. The

blindness of their minds brought upon them this darkness of the

air; never was mind so blinded as Pharaoh's, never was air so

darkened as Egypt. Let us dread the consequences of sin; if

three days of darkness were so dreadful, what will everlasting

darkness be? The children of Israel, at the same time, had light

in their dwellings. We must not think we share in common mercies

as a matter of course, and therefore that we owe no thanks to

God for them. It shows the particular favour he bears to his

people. Wherever there is an Israelite indeed, though in this

dark world, there is light, there is a child of light. When God

made this difference between the Israelites and the Egyptians,

who would not have preferred the poor cottage of an Israelite to

the fine palace of an Egyptian? There is a real difference

between the house of the wicked, which is under a curse, and the

habitation of the just, which is blessed. Pharaoh renewed the

treaty with Moses and Aaron, and consented they should take

their little ones, but would have their cattle left. It is

common for sinners to bargain with God Almighty; thus they try

to mock him, but they deceive themselves. The terms of

reconciliation with God are so fixed, that though men dispute

them ever so long, they cannot possibly alter them, or bring

them lower. We must come to the demand of God's will; we cannot

expect he should condescend to the terms our lusts would make.

With ourselves and our children, we must devote all our worldly

possessions to the service of God; we know not what use he will

make of any part of what we have. Pharaoh broke off the

conference abruptly, and resolved to treat no more. Had he

forgotten how often he had sent for Moses to ease him of his

plagues? and must he now be bid to come no more? Vain malice! to

threaten him with death, who was armed with such power! What

will not hardness of heart, and contempt of God's word and

commandments, bring men to! After this, Moses came no more till

he was sent for. When men drive God's word from them, he justly

gives them up to their own delusions.
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