Exodus 10 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Exodus 10)

Verse 1

[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:

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 expence.

Verse 3

[3] And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.

Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? — It is justly expected from the greatest of men, that they humble themselves before the great God, and it is at their peril if they refuse to do it. Those that will not humble themselves, God will humble.

Verse 10

[10] And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you.

Let the Lord be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones — He now curses and threatens them, in case they offered to remove their little ones, telling them it was at their peril. Satan doth all he can to hinder those that serve God themselves, from bringing their children in to serve him. He is a sworn enemy to early piety, knowing how destructive it is to the interests of his kingdom.

Verse 13

[13] And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.

The east-wind brought the locusts — From Arabia, where they are in great numbers: And God miraculously increased them.

Verse 15

[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.

They covered the face of the earth, and eat up the fruit of it — The earth God has given to the children of men; yet when God pleaseth he can disturb his possession even by locusts or caterpillars. Herb grows for the service of man; yet, when God pleaseth, those contemptible insect's shall not only be fellow-commoners with him, but shall eat the bread out of his mouth.

Verse 17

[17] Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only.

Pharaoh desires their prayers that this death only might be taken away, not this sin: he deprecates the plague of locusts, not the plague of a hard heart.

Verse 19

[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.

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.

Verse 21

[21] And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.

We may observe concerning this plague. 1. That it was a total darkness. We have reason to think, not only that the lights of heaven were clouded, but that all their fires and candles were put out by the damps or clammy vapours which were the cause of this darkness, for it is said, they saw not one another. 2. That it was darkness which might be felt, felt in its causes by their finger-ends, so thick were the fogs, felt in its effects, (some think) by their eyes which were pricked with pain, and made the more sore by their rubbing them. Great pain is spoken of as the effect of that darkness, Revelation 16:10, which alludes to this. 3. No doubt it was very frightful and amazing. The tradition of the Jews is, that in this darkness they were terrified by the apparition of evil spirits, or rather by dreadful sounds and murmurs which they made; and this is the plague which some think is intended (for otherwise it is not mentioned at all there) Psalms 78:49. He poured upon them the fierceness of his anger, by sending evil angels among them; for those to whom the devil has been a deceiver, he will at length be a terror to. 4. It continued three days; six nights in one; so long they were imprisoned by those chains of darkness. No man rose from his place - They were all confined to their houses; and such a terror seized them, that few of them had the courage to go from the chair to the bed, or from the bed to the chair. Thus were they silent in darkness, 1 Samuel 2:9. Now Pharaoh had time to consider, if he would have improved it.

Verse 23

[23] They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

But the children of Israel had light in their dwellings — Not only in the land of Goshen, where most of them inhabited, but in the particular dwellings which in other places the Israelites had dispersed among the Egyptians, as it appears they had by the distinction afterwards appointed to be put on their door-posts. And during these three days of darkness to the Egyptians, if God had so pleased, the Israelites by the light which they had, might have made their escape, and have asked Pharaoh no leave; but God would bring them out with a high hand, and not by stealth or in haste.

Verse 29

[29] And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.

I will see thy face no more — Namely, after this time, for this conference did not break off till Exodus 11:8, when Moses went out in great anger and told Pharaoh how soon his proud stomach would come down; which was fulfilled Exodus 12:31, when Pharaoh became an humble supplicant to Moses to depart. So that after this interview Moses came no more till he was sent for.