Summary of passage: We embark on the third set of three plagues set on Egypt. Here God sends the Plague of Hail in exactly the same way as before: God tells Moses to tell Pharaoh to release His people. If Pharaoh does not, a hailstorm the likes of which have never been seen in Egypt will rain down and destroy everything left outside. Pharaoh refuses and Moses brings about the Plague. Pharaoh relents, saying he has sinned, and asks Moses to take away the Plague and he will let the Israelites go. We all know what happens: Pharaoh does not.
Exodus 10: Interestingly here, God is the one hardening Pharaoh’s heart again and he tells Moses this plague is so that the Israelites will know and the following generations that he is Lord. Moses delivers the message: God will send a Plague of Locusts to devour what is left of Egypt. Pharaoh’s officials beg him to let the Israelites go. But Pharaoh tries to compromise with God again, only wanting to let the men go. God (of course) does not compromise so He sends the plague.
Same thing as in the Plague of Hail: Pharaoh says he has sinned, asks Moses to remove the plague and he will let the people go, Moses does, and Pharaoh refuses, God again the one hardening Pharaoh’s heart.
Last plague of this set is without warning again: God sends a Plague of darkness to Egypt. No one could see for three days except for in the land of Goshen, which was spared. Pharaoh calls Moses to him again and again tries to compromise, saying he must leave the livestock behind. Moses laughs, saying they need the animals for sacrifice. Here, the Lord again hardens Pharaoh’s heart and banishes Moses from his court.
10) In the Plague of Hail (the Seventh plague), Pharaoh for the first time says he has sinned and he is wrong. In the Plague of Locusts, the officials are finally convinced of God’s holiness. Here Pharaoh says he has sinned against God and against Moses. He asks for his sin to be forgiven. In the Ninth Plague (the Plague of Darkness), Pharaoh says to go and he becomes so enraged at Moses’ refusal to compromise that he banishes Moses from his court.
In the Plague of Hail, God reveals to Pharaoh that the plagues are so His power is shown to all for He could have just have wiped them off the face of the earth but He hasn’t yet. In the Plague of Locusts (the Eighth), God tells Moses this Plague is for the Israelites’ sake so that they may know He is God.
11a) This is all a power game, nothing else. Pharaoh wants to first just let the men go, then let the women go but keep the livestock here. He wants to be in control when it is obvious God is in control.
b) Too many to list. Everyone tries to sneak in a bit of sin here and there instead of turning totally toward God and rejecting Satan completely. Things like, “God, if you’ll do such and such for me, then I won’t ever do such and such again.” God doesn’t bargain. It’s all or nothing with Him as it should be in our lives.
c) Personal Question. My answer: I hate the instructions “be specific” because often I can’t be. Here, I can’t say of a bargain I’ve tried to make with God. I can’t say I have ever cognizantly made one. I’m sure I have with my actions. I am just unaware of it.
12) Moses is very assured in his speech and posture with Pharaoh. I think some of this is from frustration and anger that Pharaoh is being so obstinate. We see this in verse 29 with Moses last words to Pharaoh. It seems this exchange is almost a tiff! Moses is saying, “Well, fine! I’ll do as you say and never, ever see you again!”
I think Moses has lost all fear of Pharaoh as he sees the miracles God has performed and how God has used him to perform such miracles. I think Moses has realized God’s omnipotence and that Pharaoh is just a man. I think Moses has lost all respect for Pharaoh who is so evil he chooses to harm his own people rather than let the Israelites go. What kind of leader is he?
Conclusions: This lesson covers a lot of ground as does the forthcoming lessons so make sure you leave the time to complete it thoroughly. I love the change in Moses. I think we all feel that when we see God in our lives work His power we become more confident in God and in our faith and it shines outward. I love the consequences of Pharaoh’s continued sin. I love God’s grace towards Pharaoh. I love God’s show of power and mercy in the plagues when He could have just been done with the Egyptians. So many powerful lessons for us to remember!
End Notes: “I will being judgment on the gods of Egypt” (Exodus 12:12). God is in an all-out war against the Egyptian gods. Here we see the Plague of Darkness attack the sun god, Ra, one of Egypt’s most important gods. Ra was considered to the the King of the Egyptian Gods and as such the Pharaoh represented Ra on earth. He was the creator of everything and considered the father of the other gods. The sun was important to the Egyptians as they relied on it for light, warmth, and growth. It is fitting that God chose his final attack on Pharaoh himself and on Egypt’s supreme god.
The Ten Plagues serve two major purposes: One, to convince Egypt to let their slave labor go. Two, to convince the Israelites it was time to leave the life they’ve known for 400 years. God uses his power to let everyone know who is in charge.
Pharaoh’s stubbornness merely glorified God. God gives the Egyptians a chance to protect their livestock from the hail. Some did and some didn’t. It hardly ever rains in Egypt so the idea of a huge hailstorm was probably unimaginable to the Egyptians. It would be easy for them to dismiss this warning. They must have been very frightened when it began to hail. Some translations say fire instead of lightning, which would have been even more frightening.
Nut was the goddess of the sky that the Plague of Hail was against.
Note Moses’ candor in the Plague of Hail. “I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.” I can just see Moses sighing, knowing Pharaoh is lying to him and that his heart is hard and his confession is insincere. Yet, he grants Pharaoh’s request so there is no excuse by Pharaoh NOT to turn to the Lord. Moses is probably thinking, Man, this guy is an idiot! But Moses probably also is sorry for Pharaoh as well and probably prays for him to turn to God.
Here we find yet another purpose of the plagues: to grow Moses’ heart and faith in God and in himself. We can see the transformation in Moses whose most difficult task is ahead: leading the Israelites to the Promised Land.
Pharaoh hates the consequences of his sin, but not the sin itself. He’d do the sin all over again. This is a warning to us all.
The plagues keep coming as Pharaoh refuses to humble himself before the Lord and as God intends to keep showing Pharaoh who He is until Pharaoh gets it!
The Egyptian god Set was the protector of crops. Looks like Set failed in his job in this instance as the locusts devoured everything in sight!
Note how the darkness is one that “can be felt”. God is light so God not only abolished the sun’s rays, but He also took away His presence from the earth as well, which we can feel.
Pharaoh is so exasperated that he banishes Moses from his court, which is effectively banishing God. God responds with the Tenth Plague, one that will affect Pharaoh is a personal way so that God will never be banished again!
The Bible gives several reasons for the plagues: to verify to God’s people that Moses is His chosen one, to show His greatness, to give testimony for the future generations, to answer Pharaoh’s question of who is God, to judge the false gods, and as a warning to other nations of what will happen if you oppose His people.
Fun Fact: Pharaoh’s admission to sin in Exodus 9:27 is one of eight in the Bible. See if you can discover who else said as much and who was sincere and who was insincere.