SBC Banner


Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

May 24, 2017

Exodus  9:22-10:29

  1. Recap. The announcement to Pharaoh declares the purpose of the plagues (9:13-21). God declares that he had raised up Pharaoh “to show my strength that my name be declared.” God, in short, put Pharaoh in power so that he could reveal his own strength by destroying this powerful king, and give his people cause for praise and trust for generations to come. Because Pharaoh exalted himself, the LORD would bring a grievous hail. Rain was almost unknown in Egypt and hail and lightening, when it occurred, was harmless. The Egyptians worship with fire and water, for they reverence them above all other forces. The point then is that these deities now come down upon the Egyptians with death and destruction. The gods in which they trusted have turned against them—all at the call of the LORD. This plague is unique in that an invitation of grace is extended. They were to bring their cattle inside for shelter. The text says that those who feared the LORD obeyed, and those who disregarded his word suffered the consequences.

  2. Verses 22-35. Moses is commanded to stretch out his hand (he becomes more dominant now). This he does, with the rod in it, and the hail and fire intermingled falls from heaven. The aftermath of the plague also reveals some interesting dialogue that is important for the theology of the passage (9:27-35). Pharaoh now confesses, “l have sinned this time.” He also confesses that the LORD is “righteous” and he and the people are “guilty.” What he actually meant by these is not certain. We may only assume that the words mean what they normally mean, and that his confession on the surface seems to represent a recognition of who was right and who was wrong. Time will show that his confession was forced by the plague, and that he had not changed. In response to Pharaoh's request that Moses entreat the LORD (and that he will send them out), Moses “spreads his hands” to the LORD. But before he does he makes sure that Pharaoh knows that “the earth is the LORDs.” The LORD is absolutely sovereign over all creation. But Moses also knows that Pharaoh will not fear because the LORD had told him that he would not submit. As expected, Pharaoh “sinned yet more” and refused, because his heart was hardened. It is clear that this passage is an explanation for the plagues. The idea of the plague of hail itself could be stated as follows: God demonstrates his power over the forces of nature to show his sovereignty-the earth is the LORD‘s. He can destroy it. He can preserve it. If any wickedly sin by ignoring his word, he can bring destruction on them. If any fear in righteousness, he can preserve them in safety. 1) Those who fear the LORD and obey his word shall escape the powerful destruction he has prepared for those who sinfully disregard his word. 2) God demonstrates his power by bringing destruction on the sinners who disregard his word while providing safety for those who fear him.

  3. Chapter 10. Verses 1-15. God is going to continue teaching Pharaoh a lesson about the power of God. This time he would use something all farmers in Egypt feared. The desert locust was one of the most dreaded of all plagues in the Ancient Near East, as it still is in the Middle East to this day. It is fitting then, that this was the eighth plague the LORD sent on Egypt. Still Pharaoh would not listen to the message of the Lord, still he relies on his own Egyptian gods and goddesses. The locust was a sign of judgment even to the Egyptians. The eighth plague issued by the Lord had an even greater purpose than all the others, it was to be felt so that future generations would tell even “children's children” the mighty things of the Lord, thus teaching even future generations of the power of the “strong hand of God.” Moses and Aaron approached Pharaoh with the same request, “Let my people go so that they may serve me,” and pronounced the judgment of locusts if not heeded. After giving Pharaoh a warning of the impeding danger, they left the presence of Pharaoh. At this point Pharaoh’s officials pleaded with Pharaoh to let the people go. It would appear that Pharaoh will move just a little bit. He calls for Moses and Aaron and tells them that they can go, but how many will go. Moses tells Pharaoh that everybody will go to worship. Pharaoh says that only the men can go, and then he drives Moses and Aaron out of his presence. At this point God tells Moses to unleash the next plague. This is the second wave of destruction to follow the hail, and whatever crops were left intact after that display, were now completely consumed by the swarms of locusts that were unleashed from the sky. The plague of locust covered the ground so that the ground looked black. This was a plague like they had never seen in all of the land. Nothing green remained in the land.

  4. Verses 16-20. Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and begged them to stop the plague. Pharaoh gives this superficial confession, but once again he lies. He's dishonest, and God hardens his heart. God's sovereignty is shown in that admission. We've said before that Pharaoh was considered to be a god, holy righteous. He was the incarnation of the god Ra (Sun God). When Pharaoh died, whereas everybody else got judged, Pharaoh was supposedly immediately translated into the realm of the gods. And yet, here is Pharaoh admitting that he had been dishonest. He admitted that he had sinned. In fact, he had not only sinned against God, he had sinned against Moses. Suddenly Pharaoh is being whittled down to size, so that he's not simply a parallel with God, he's now a parallel with God's prophet Moses, and he's admitting that he had sinned against him. But it's a superficial repentance. It's like Esau's repentance. Esau didn’t repent, he was remorseful, but Pharaohs is worse because Pharaohs repentance is strategic remorsefulness. He's only remorseful because he wants this situation to relent. And the minute that it relents, he goes right back to his former posture. God has hardened his heart for judgment.

  5. Verses 21-22. God is about to turn the lights out on the Sun. It is a picture of him turning the lights out on Pharaoh. Pharaoh was supposed to be embodiment of Ra the Sun God, the most powerful god. But now this Sun will dim at the command of Moses. This last plague, just like the third and the sixth plagues, comes without warning. And in this final plague, we have come to an end of the bargaining between Moses and Pharaoh. But after this plague, there will be no more bargaining, no more debate, no more discussion at all. This is the end of the road. This plague of darkness shows the sovereignty of God over Ra, the sun god, the chief of the gods of Egypt. The Egyptians worshipped Ra in almost all of the palace ceremonies. Ra worship was pervasive in the land. They believed that the sunrise in the east symbolized Ra’s victory over the demonic powers of the netherworld, and that sunset indicated that these forces of darkness were waging war against Ra. And then when the sun rose again it showed that Ra had won. He was victorious over those that would challenge his rule. So, when God, through Moses, announces not a day, not just the daylight hours, but three days of darkness, He is showing that the God of the Hebrews is sovereign over the chief deities over Egypt. This darkness was described in the most apocalyptic terms in verses 21 and 22. Look at the end of verse 21. It's called a darkness that may be felt. It's called a thick darkness, literally a dark darkness, in verse 22. It was characterized by an extraordinary duration. Three days this darkness would endure.
  6. Verses 22-26. This darkness was so bad that Egyptians couldn't even see one another, and it's even hinted at that they were unable to supply any sort of artificial remedy for this darkness. Furthermore, we are told that a distinction is made and the mercifulness of this plague is seen in that it is manifested in a distinct way in Goshen in the land of the Israelites: they have light in their homes. And so God shows His miraculous power in the pervasiveness of this plague and in the distinctive way in which it manifests itself. Once again, a difference is made between Israel and Egypt. So, God’s prophetic warning here presents yet another opportunity for Egypt and for Pharaoh to see the error of its ways and to turn to Him repenting and in humility. But this doesn't happen. In verses 24 through 26, two things in particular stand out. We see Pharaoh's final bargain, Pharaoh is still bickering at this point and he makes what will be his final offer to Moses. In the same section, verses 24 through 26, we see Moses’ steadfast refusal to compromise. Moses in the face of this kind of danger is bold in His refusal to compromise with Pharaoh. Look at verse 24. Pharaoh again changes his terms. He relents from an earlier position. Do you remember earlier in chapter 10, Pharaoh had said, look I'll let the men go but the woman and the children have to stay behind. Now, he relents from that position. Over and over Pharaoh’s failed compromises show his weakness and prove God's sovereignty. Pharaoh is backing off at every point. He had bid low and his bids are getting higher every time, closer to the original directive that had been given to him by God through Moses. But Pharaoh, though his bid keeps changing, though there continue to be offers and counter offers on the table, Pharaoh continues doggedly to refuse an unconditional surrender, and that's the key. “Only this time leave the animals.” There is always some qualification with Pharaoh. He will not go along with what God has told him through Moses. Now look at verse 25, Moses boldly and even royally tells Pharaoh what he is going to go. Moses tells Pharaoh what he must do. “You must let us have the sacrifices.” This is not the language of bargaining. Pharaoh, he says, you must let us have the sacrifices and burnt offering that we may sacrifice them to the Lord.
  7. Verses 27-29. The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart and he's unwilling to let them go. God will decide when Pharaoh will let His people go. Pharaoh demands Moses get out of his sight. Pharaoh even threatens Moses that if he sees him again he will kill him. Moses tells Pharaoh that he is right, he will never see him again, but Moses wouldn't die Pharaoh would die.

click here to select another lesson