God has been showering the Egyptians with plagues so Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves.
The Eighth Plague: Locusts (v. 1-20)
God tells Moses that he has hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he can show off how powerful he is by plaguing the Egyptians so that the Israelite descendants will tell the tales and they will know that Yahweh is God.
The first 2 verses here are spelled out plain as day, God is keeping Pharaoh from doing what he commands so he can show off by continuing to plague Egypt. How can anybody argue that Pharaoh's free will is not being taken away here?
Looks like Guzik is going to give it a go:
In hardening Pharaoh's heart, God allowed him to have what he sinfully desired - a hard heart.Are you fucking kidding me? Why would he desire a hardened heart, and where is it even suggested that he had desired this? On the contrary, Pharaoh is coming around. Why else would it be necessary for God to harden his heart? No, this is simply Guzik trying to justify something horrible that God has done.
God's work was not only for the sake of the generation of Moses and Pharaoh; it was also for your son and your son's son. God does mighty works among us so that we can encourage generations to come.I suppose that is one way to spin it.
Getting to the heart of the matter, God warns Pharaoh to humble himself or the worst plague of locusts ever seen will come upon Egypt. Pride was at the heart of Pharaoh's problem; he simply didn't want to give into God.Actually he did want to, but God refused to let him because he wanted to show off his power.
Matthew Henry and Jamieson, Fausset & Brown don't even acknowledge the free will issue.
|Desert locusts feeding. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
This is pretty stupid of Pharaoh, although it seems very much like a politician trying to save some face. "You will do this on my terms!", very stupid but sadly believable.
Guzik interprets this as Pharaoh trying to keep the women and children as hostages. That wasn't what occurred to me, but it does seem like a pretty reasonable interpretation.
So Moses brings the plague of locusts and every plant that was not destroyed by the hail was eaten by the locusts.
For those keeping track, all of the fish are dead (plague 1) and all of the livestock are dead (plague 5). Also, much of the crops are dead (plague 7), but that is somewhat immaterial now as the rest have also been destroyed. Seriously, how is every Egyptian not dead at this point in the story? Perhaps they resorted to cannibalism?
Again, from Guzik
Now the LORD God shows Himself greater than the Egyptian god Seth, thought to be the protector of crops.Ahh yes, the real reason for the plagues, a pissing match between gods.
Then Pharaoh calls Moses and Aaron back, says he's sinned again God and wants to make it right. God removes the locusts, but hardens his heart again so he won't let the Israelites go.
How much clearer can this get? Pharaoh is apologizing to God, says he's made a mistake and tries to make things right and God hardens his heart again. How can anyone argue his free will has not been removed? I just don't get it.
Wow, the way this is spun by Guzik is actually impressive in its ridiculousness. First of all, his section title for verses 16-20 is
Another false repentance by PharaohThen his comment on the text is
Pharaoh did the same thing in Exodus 9:27-28. He said the words of repentance but did not follow through with the actions. His heart was only hardened more after God relented and showed mercy.No, his heart was hardened more after God hardened it. Interestingly enough, Matthew Henry doesn't seem to have an issue with God taking away Pharaoh's free will
Pharaoh's return to his impious resolution again not to let the people go (v. 20), through the righteous hand of God upon him, hardening his heart, and confirming him in his obstinacyand Jamieson, Fausset & Brown completely ignore the issue.
|Seriously though, what's a picture of |
darkness supposed to look like?
The Ninth Plague: Darkness (v. 21-29)
God has Moses cast darkness over Egypt. It was so dark they couldn't see each other, and people didn't even leave their "place" for three days. This plague didn't affect the Israelite people.
Presumably this is targeted at another one of the Egyptian Gods, Ra perhaps?
This is the first plague where Guzik hasn't mentioned which Egyptian god it is aimed at, and it if the first one where I even have a guess. Perhaps I'm just easily amused but this made me laugh. He did point out something interesting here though
As was the pattern with the previous plagues, the third in this set of three comes without warningSome plagues God has told Moses to warn Pharaoh, other times he just has him do the thing. Apparently there is a pattern. I'm not sure I really understand the significance of this pattern, but I suppose it is worth pointing out.
Pharaoh called Moses and said they could go worship and they can take their women and children, but not their livestock. Moses said that they needed their animals because they are going to sacrifice to God.
Same as above, Pharaoh is trying to negotiate. Dude, just let them go. I wonder what it could be that is keeping him from doing just that.
Go hardened Pharaoh's heart and he wouldn't let them go.
I am shocked. Shocked! To think, Pharaoh was acting irrational and it turns out that God was forcing him to act that way.
Pharaoh tells Moses to leave and never come back. If Pharaoh sees his face he will die.
Moral of the Story:
Same Moral as the last few chapters, worship God or else, nothing to see here.
Verses of note
Exodus 10:1 Again, God says that He hardened Pharaoh's heart
"Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them"
Exodus 10:16,20 After Pharaoh tries to get right with God, God hardens his heart again
"Then Pharaoh hastily called Moses and Aaron and said, "I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you...But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go"
Exodus 10:27 God is hardening Pharaoh's heart again. It's almost like Pharaoh really wants to relent and God has to continually keep him from doing it.
"But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go."
Exodus 10:2 God is making the plagues severe so the word of his power will reach further generations
"that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the LORD."