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thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt." Perhaps you do not know what locusts are.
I will tell you.
They are like a large grasshopper, with wings of a green colour. They travel in such large bodies, that they prevent the light of the sun like a cloud. Wherever they alight, they devour faster than caterpillars; after a visit of locusts, the leaves of every herb and tree disappear, and look as if a fire had destroyed them. When they lay their eggs, they produce worms or caterpillars; and these are dreadfully destructive. They crawl in immense bodies or numbers united. The people try to stop them with fires, and trenches with water in them ; but they march on over one another's bodies till they find a passage, and by their numbers they put out the fire and fill up the water-trenches. If many of them die, they infect the air, and produce a killing disease called a pestilence.
Well, these dreadful insects, as we have said, visited the Egyptians, and destroyed all their fields, and entered into all their houses ; and it was such a visit of locusts as neither they, nor their fathers, nor their fathers' fathers, had seen.
Then Pharaoh again “ called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you. Now therefore forgive, I
thee, my sin only this once, and entreat the Lord your God, that he may take away from me this death only."
As Moses was a good man, he took no pleasure in Pharaoh's punishment, and he prayed to God even for his enemy, as good men do. “And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red Sea ; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt."
Well, surely Pharaoh would now let the children of Israel go. No; he would not. So God told Moses to stretch out his hand toward heaven, that there might be “darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt;" supposed to have been a very thick mist or fog; and it lasted three days, so that the people saw not one another, neither did they rise from the place where they were. They were so frightened, that they knew not what to do; and if the darkness was caused by a damp mist or fog, it would put out every fire and every light, which, no doubt, it did. This was the ninth plague.
But while this plague lasted, the part where the children of Israel lived was free from it, for “all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings."
Destruction of the First-born of Egypt, and Release of the
Children of Israel.
EXODUS XI., XII. The tenth and last plague was about to fall upon Pharaoh, and a most terrible plague it was.
“And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maid-servant that is behind the mill; and all the first-born of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more."
This plague was the most alarming of all. “ And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and 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."
In Egypt, when any died, the people ran into the streets, and howled, and showed their grief in the strongest manner. What a scene of distress must there have been in the streets, when some from every house ran out and cried !
Pharaoh was now convinced that it was in vain to fight against God, and was, probably, afraid for his own life, and for the lives of all his people. So “ he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord as ye have said. Also take
your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone ; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.”
So the children of Israel went away in so much haste, that they even carried their dough with them that was mixed for their bread, without having time to bake it. And having been cheated out of their wages for their hard labour, they borrowed, or rather asked, for some silver and gold from the Egyptians,--for they would not at God's command have borrowed without intending to pay; and the people, glad to get rid of them, in their fright gave them jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment.
In memory of this great event, God established what is called the PASS-OVER.
On the evening when the first-born were to be slain, a lamb was to be killed by each Israelitish family, who were to eat its flesh with bitter herbs, in remembrance of their bitter bondage in Egypt. The lamb's blood was ordered to be sprinkled on the lintel of each door, or that part which is over our heads when we enter; and also on the door-posts ; and when the destroying angel, or the stroke of death, should visit the Egyptians, not a single injury should happen to those whose doors were so sprinkled.
This Pass-over, as it was called, because in that night God's wrath should pass over the houses of the Israelites, was also to show how those should escape Divine wrath who should by faith be sprinkled, as it were, with the blood of Jesus Christ, who is called, • The Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world."
The Departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt, and the Drowning of Pharaoh and his Army in the Red Sea.
EXODUS XIII., XIV. And now the children of Israel set off to leave Egypt. There were six
hundred thousand men on foot, and with the Levites, who were not reckoned in that number, and also their wives and children, it is supposed the whole were above three millions. This was indeed a large body.
And as they were commanded to travel in the wilderness, a wild and dreary place, where they might lose their way, and fall into the hands of enemies, they were guided by a cloud in the air, which was of the shape of a pillar, and which at night was light on their side, but dark on the other.
By this cloud they were guided, when Pharaoh repented of letting them go, and said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving as ? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: and he took six hundred thousand chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them ;" " and he pursued after the children of Israel.” And he overtook them encamping, or resting in their tents, by the sea. On both sides were mountains and strong towers, so that, with his army behind them, they had no way of escape but through the sea ; and bow could they get through the sea without ships, while they had not so much as even a boat with them ?
Pharaoh now thought that they were “entangled in the land,” and that "the wilderness had shut them in."
The children of Israel, too, were alarmed, and forgot what great things God had done for them, and they began to cry out against Moses, and to say to him, “ Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness ?” “It had been better for us to serye the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”
Moses had more faith in God, and he said, “ Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you to-day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Why, to be sure, the same God that had wrought all the miracles for them in Egypt, to oblige Pharach to let them go, could now prevent him from taking
And now God ordered Moses to lift up his rod, and stretch his hand out to the sea, and the children of Israel should " go on dry ground through the
midst of the sea.”
The cloud began to move, and the children of Israel were commanded to go forward. And the cloud came between the camp of Egyptians and the Camp of Israel; and it was a cloud of darkness to the Egyptians, but it gave light by night to the Israelites ; so that the one came not near to the other all night. And the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
Travellers have observed, that at the part where the Israelites crossed, the sea is about twelve miles over, and about twenty-eight yards deep, or about nine or ten times as high as a room usually is. Some have thought that the strong wind blew up the water and cleared a channel, as we may do with our breath in a saucer of water ; but then others wisely think that so strong a wind as must have raised so much water, would have blown all the people away; beside, the waters would never have stood as a wall, but have returned often to their place, and have drowned the Israelites : it is therefore plain that God wrought another miracle to deliver them, and the wind was, probably, used to dry up the bottom of the sea, that they might walk better on it.
“And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
Most likely Pharaoh went on in the dark, and did not know where he was before he found out his danger. “ And it came to pass that in the morning watch," which was from about three o'clock in the morning till six, when the watchmen on the towers were changed, “the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians." Probably a storm gathered in the cloud, and it might thunder and lighten; for in the Psalms it is said, when this deliverance is named, “ The voice of thy THUNDER was in the heavens, the LIGHTNINGS LIGHTENED the world, the earth TREMBLED and shook.”—(See the 77th Psalm.) And the Lord “ took off their chariot-wheels, that they drave them heavily:" for by the storm he so terrified the drivers, that they, perhaps, ran against one another, and broke each other's chariots to pieces; and, besides, the bottom of the sea might again become wet and heavy, so that the chariots could not go forward without violent dragging and breaking.
And now the Egyptians saw their danger, and said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians."
At this moment God commanded Moses again to stretch his hand over the sea, and the waters should return : and he did so, and all the army of Egypt was drowned.
God could have done all this without Moses using his rod, but he would by this teach him to obey his commands, and then all would be well with him, and he would have Israel respect him as his servant and their leader.
The morning showed a most fearful sight, for the shores were strewed