Jan. 21 Reading: Exodus 10-12 Commentary
“Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever.” (Ex. 12:21-24)
Exodus 10 – Plagues Eight and Nine
The plagues on Egypt continue in Exodus 10 with the following:
Plague Eight: Locusts
It seems as though Pharaoh is beginning to break. Even Pharaoh’s servants counsel him saying, “How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God” (v. 7). So when plague eight is announced, Pharaoh negotiates with Moses to let the men go. But that isn’t the stipulation God has required. So plague eight proceeds as planned.
Event: Moses stretched out his rod over the land and God caused an east wind to bring locust over all the land. The locust plague was so severe that “they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened” (v. 15).
Outcome: “…they [the locust] ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt” (v. 15).
Pharaoh’s Reaction: Pharaoh again repents of his sin (v. 16). Moses prays and God sends a west wind that blows all the locust into the Red Sea (v. 19). Once again God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not let the people go.
Plague Nine: Darkness
This plague was not announced in advance. It is particularly interesting in that this plague truly was a battle of the gods so to speak. The Egyptians worshipped many gods, but none more so than the sun. So to have darkness cover all the land for three days was truly an attack on the thing they revered the most. It showed God’s true power over nature and the Egyptian’s entire god theology.
Event: Moses stretched out his hand and thick darkness came over all the land for three days.
Outcome: The people did not see one another. They stayed in their homes for three days. All the Israelites had light in their dwelling (v. 23).
Pharaoh’s Reaction: Pharaoh agrees to let the people go but they must leave all the livestock behind. Moses objects saying they need the livestock for sacrifices. Pharaoh hardens his heart and erupts in anger telling Moses that the next time he sees Pharaoh’s face again he will die (v. 28).
Exodus 11 – Plague Ten Announced
God announced the final plague to Moses in Exodus 11. It will be a devastating one that will cause Pharaoh to finally concede. Not only that, but it will give the Israelites favor in the eyes of the Egyptian people and all Pharaoh’s servants so that they will give the Israelites anything they ask for (v. 2).
The plague will unfold in this manner:
“About midnight I [God] will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals” (vv. 4-5).
Once again, God specified that He would protect Israel. No harm would come to one of their firstborn.
Exodus 12 – The Passover and Final Plague
This final plague would not only free Israel, it would alter their life and traditions forever. Passover as it was called became the red letter event of the Jewish year. It also altered their calendar, in that God used this event to reset their calendar so the month in which this happened was the first one of their year (v. 2).
What is Passover exactly? It was a feast of celebration that remembered God protecting Israel during this last plague. It was to be celebrated every year as a memorial from generation to generation – an everlasting ordinance (v. 14).
God gave Moses these instructions regarding Passover:
- It began on the 10th day of the month (v. 3).
- Each family took a lamb from the flock without blemish, a male of the first year (v. 4-5).
- On the 14th day of the month, the lamb was killed at twilight (v. 6).
- Blood from the lamb was spread on the two posts and header of the home’s main doorframe (v. 7).
- They were to eat the lamb that night, roasted in fire, along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (v. 8).
- The meal was to be a quick one. They were to eat it with sandals on their feet and their belt around their waste (in order to leave quickly)(vv. 10-11).
This had to be done in this manner because God would:
“…pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (vv. 12-13).
This event was to remembered year in and year out. God promised that they would celebrate this feast when they came into the Promised Land (v. 25). And to ensure it continued from generation to generation, instructions are given about how to teach the meaning of the event to children (v. 26-27).
Upon hearing all these instructions, the people bowed their heads in worship. They went and did as Moses and the Lord commanded (v. 28).
Note: This event foreshadowed Jesus as the perfect Lamb of God (see John 1:29; I Cor. 5:7; I Pet. 1:19). He would become the perfect sacrifice that allows God to overlook our sin when we put our trust in Jesus.
Plague Ten: Death of the Firstborn
Event: “And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock” (v. 29).
Outcome: “So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead” (v. 30).
Pharaoh’s Reaction: Pharaoh called for Moses and allowed him to take all the people and all the livestock and go. He asked Moses to bless him. The Egyptian people urged the Hebrews to leave and gave them anything they asked for saying, “We shall all be dead” (v. 33). They plundered the Egyptians who gave them articles of silver, gold and clothing.
430 years after Jacob came to Egypt with 70 individuals (Gen. 46), all the people of God went up out of Egypt (v. 40). We are told that the number of them was 600,000 men, besides children (and presumably women)(v. 37). It’s hard to know but this probably puts the total number of people leaving at over 2 million.
Questions to Consider:
What is your reaction to all the plagues God sent on Pharaoh and the Egyptian people? How does it change or alter your view of God?
What event in your life do you always remember and thank God for? How does that encourage you and give you hope?
Leaders need wise counsel because their decisions alter the course of people’s lives. Pharaoh’s advisors counseled him to let Moses and the Israelites go. He ignored them, letting his pride get in the way. His poor leadership resulted in all of Egypt suffering. Is there a person in your life whose counsel you trust? How have they helped you make wise decisions?
What other points would you want to know about in our Exodus 10-12 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.