The previous hailstorm plague had destroyed Ancient Egypt’s flax and barley crops. But the spelt and wheat crops hadn’t matured yet, until now (9:31). The locusts would claim these crops.
The italic excerpts in the following story are from The Message Bible translation. Everything else is my fictional retelling of this passage.
You may read Exodus 10:1-20 (The Message) here: Bible Gateway.
Pharaoh sighed. He longed for the days when he received envoys from foreign lands. Diplomats use to gape in awe at his wealth and amazing open buildings. But of late, his world was falling apart at the seams.
Shasu. Moses—the insolent white haired Hebrew with smoky eyes—entered his throne room with his slave brother unannounced once again. He hated that his own guards and people were beginning to favor Moses, as though he was some kind of dignitary.
He’d love to rid these two for good. But how does one bargain or fight against their god? This desert deity powerfully commands water, animals, insects, wind, storms, and disease. At least Re, the sun god still favored him. As long as Re rose in the morning, so would he!
Aaron spoke without permission: “God, the God of the Hebrews, says, ‘How long are you going to refuse to knuckle under? Release my people so that they can worship me. If you refuse to release my people, watch out; tomorrow I’m bringing locusts into your country. They’ll cover every square inch of ground; no one will be able to see the ground. They’ll devour everything left over from the hailstorm, even the saplings out in the fields—they’ll clear-cut the trees. And they’ll invade your houses, filling the houses of your servants, filling every house in Egypt. Nobody will have ever seen anything like this, from the time your ancestors first set foot on this soil until today,’” (vv. 3-5, The Message).
Moses and Aaron turned and left.
Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long are you going to let this man harass us? Let these people go and worship their God. Can’t you see that Egypt is on its last legs?”
So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. He said to them, “Go ahead then. Go worship your God. But just who exactly is going with you?”
Moses said, “We’re taking young and old, sons and daughters, flocks and herds—this is our worship-celebration of God.”
He said, “I’d sooner send you off with God’s blessings than let you go with your children. Look, you’re up to no good—it’s written all over your faces. Nothing doing. Just the men are going—go ahead and worship God. That’s what you want so badly.” And they were thrown out of Pharaoh’s presence, (vv. 7-11).
Within the hour, a strong east wind blew in with a black, ominous cloud. The Egyptians held their breath, wondering what curse would befall them next. But it didn’t take long for everyone to realize this was no ordinary storm cloud looming over their land.
An army of whirring wings infiltrate and consume every building and field. So thick were the bugs, that the Egyptians couldn’t even see their neighbor. Every living plant that survived the hail storm was utterly demolished by millions of these ravenous creatures.
Pharaoh order Moses and Aaron be brought back to him.
He said, “I’ve sinned against your God and against you. Overlook my sin one more time. Pray to your God to get me out of this—get death out of here!”
Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to God. God reversed the wind—a powerful west wind took the locusts and dumped them into the Red Sea. There wasn’t a single locust left in the whole country of Egypt.
But God made Pharaoh stubborn as ever. He still didn’t release the Israelites, (vv. 16-20).
I didn’t include God’s instructions for Moses prior to meeting with Pharaoh (vs 1-2). But I think it’s worthy to note. God adds another reason for His powerful display of signs/plagues: “so you’ll be able to tell your children and grandchildren how I toyed with the Egyptians . . . . You’ll tell them the stories of the signs that I brought down on them, so that you’ll all know that I am God,” (MSG).
Warren Wiersbe writes (Be Delivered): “This purpose was also written into the Passover Feast. Whether in the family or the local church, it’s good for each new generation to learn and appreciate the way God has worked on behalf of previous generations.”
And although Pharaoh appears to humble himself before Moses and God in this passage, there is still no deal. . . . Have a wonderful week!