Day 33 – Locusts, Darkness, and Death of the First Born

Exodus 10

1 Yahweh then said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh, for I have made him and his officials stubborn, to display these signs of mine among them;

2 so that you can tell your sons and your grandsons how I made fools of the Egyptians and what signs I performed among them, so that you would know that I am Yahweh.’

3 Moses and Aaron then went to Pharaoh and said to him, ‘Yahweh, God of the Hebrews, says this, “How much longer will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go and worship me.

4 Or, if you refuse to let my people go, tomorrow I shall send locusts into your country.

5 They will cover the surface of the soil so that the soil cannot be seen. They will devour the remainder of what has escaped, of what you have been left after the hail; they will devour all your trees growing in the fields;

6 they will fill your houses, all your officials’ houses and all the Egyptians’ houses — something your ancestors and your ancestors’ ancestors have never seen from the day they first appeared on earth until now.” ‘ Then he turned on his heel and left Pharaoh’s presence.

7 At which, Pharaoh’s officials said to him, ‘How much longer are we to be tricked by this fellow? Let the people go and worship Yahwehtheir God. Do you not finally realise that Egypt is on the brink of ruin?’

8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh who said to them, ‘Go and worship Yahweh your God. But who are to go?’

9 Moses replied, ‘We shall take our young men and our old men, we shall take our sons and daughters, our flocks and our herds, since we are going to hold a feast in Yahweh’s honour.’

10 Pharaoh said, ‘So I must let you go with your wives and children! May Yahweh preserve you! Plainly, you are up to no good!

11 Oh no! You men may go and worship Yahweh, since that was your original request.’ With that, they were driven from Pharaoh’s presence.

12 Yahweh then said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over Egypt for the locusts. Let them invade Egypt and devour whatever is growing in the country, whatever the hail has left!’

13 Moses stretched his staff over Egypt, and over the country Yahweh sent an east wind which blew all that day and night. By morning, the east wind had brought the locusts.

14 The locusts invaded the whole of Egypt and settled all over Egypt, in great swarms; never had there been so many locusts before, nor would there be again.

15 They covered the surface of the ground till the land was devastated. They devoured whatever was growing in the fields and all the fruit on the trees that the hail had left. No green was left on tree or plant in the fields anywhere in Egypt.

16 Pharaoh sent urgently for Moses and Aaron and said, ‘I have sinned against Yahweh your God and against you.

17 Now forgive my sin, I implore you, just this once, and entreat Yahweh your God to turn this deadly thing away from me.’

18 When Moses left Pharaoh’s presence he prayed to Yahweh,

19 and Yahweh changed the wind into a west wind, very strong, which carried the locusts away and swept them into the Sea of Reeds. There was not one locust left in the whole of Egypt.

20 But Yahweh made Pharaoh stubborn, and he did not let the Israelites go.

21 Yahweh then said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand towards heaven, and let darkness, darkness so thick that it can be felt, cover Egypt.’

22 So Moses stretched out his hand towards heaven, and for three days there was thick darkness over the whole of Egypt.

23 No one could see anyone else or move about for three days, but all the Israelites did have light where they were living.

24 Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, ‘Go and worship Yahweh, but your flocks and herds are to stay here. Your wives and childrencan go with you too.’

25 Moses said, ‘But now you must give us sacrifices and burnt offerings to offer to Yahweh our God.

26 And our livestock will go with us too; not a hoof will be left behind; for we may need animals from these to worship Yahweh our God; for until we get there we ourselves cannot tell how we are to worship Yahweh.’

27 But Yahweh made Pharaoh stubborn, and he refused to let them go.

28 Pharaoh said to Moses, ‘Out of my sight! Be sure you never see my face again, for the next time you see my face you die!’

29 Moses then said, ‘You yourself have said it. I shall never see your face again.’

Exodus 11

1 Yahweh then said to Moses, ‘I shall inflict one more plague on Pharaoh and Egypt, after which he will let you go away. When he lets you go, he will actually drive you out!

2 Now instruct the people that every man is to ask his neighbour, and every woman hers, for silver and golden jewellery.’

3 And Yahweh made the Egyptians impressed with the people, while Moses himself was a man of great importance in Egypt in the opinion of Pharaoh’s officials and the people.

4 Moses then said, ‘Yahweh says this, “At midnight I shall pass through Egypt,

5 and all the first-born in Egypt will die, from the first-born of Pharaoh, heir to his throne, to the first-born of the slave-girl at the mill, and all the first-born of the livestock.

6 And throughout Egypt there will be great wailing, such as never was before, nor will be again.

7 But against the Israelites, whether man or beast, never a dog shall bark, so that you may know that Yahweh discriminates between Egypt and Israel.

8 Then all these officials of yours will come down to me and, bowing low before me, say: Go away, you and all the people who follow you! After which, I shall go.” ‘ And, hot with anger, he left Pharaoh’s presence.

9 Yahweh then said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that more of my wonders may be displayed in Egypt.’

10 Moses and Aaron worked all these wonders in Pharaoh’s presence, but Yahweh made Pharaoh stubborn, and he did not let the Israelites leave his country.

Leviticus 8

1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

2 ‘Take Aaron and with him his sons, the vestments, the anointing oil, the bull for the sacrifice for sin, the two rams and the basket of unleavened bread.

3 Then call the whole community together at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.’

4 Moses did as Yahweh ordered; the community gathered at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting,

5 and Moses said to them, ‘This is what Yahweh has ordered to be done.’

6 He made Aaron and his sons come forward and washed them with water.

7 He then dressed him in the tunic, passed the waistband round his waist, vested him in the robe and put the ephod on him. He then put the waistband of the ephod round his waist, fastening it to him.

8 He put the breastplate on him, and placed the urim and thummim in it.

9 He put the turban on his head, and on the front of the turban, the golden flower; this was the symbol of holy consecration, which Yahweh had prescribed to Moses.

10 Moses then took the anointing oil and anointed the Dwelling and everything inside it, to consecrate them.

11 He sprinkled the altar seven times and anointed the altar and its accessories, the basin and its stand, to consecrate them.

12 He then poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him to consecrate him.

13 Moses then made Aaron’s sons come forward; he dressed them in tunics, passed the waistbands round their waists and put on their head-dresses, as Yahweh had ordered him.

14 He then had the bull for the sacrifice for sin brought forward. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the victim’s head

15 and Moses slaughtered it. He then took the blood and with his finger put some of it on the horns on the corners of the altar to purify the altar. He then poured the rest of the blood at the foot of the altar, which he consecrated by performing the rite of expiation over it.

16 He then took all the fat covering the entrails, the mass of fat over the liver, both kidneys and their fat; and he burnt this on the altar,

17 but the bull’s skin, its meat and its offal he burnt outside the camp, as Yahweh had ordered Moses.

18 He then had the ram for the burnt offering brought forward. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the ram’s head

19 and Moses slaughtered it. He poured its blood all around the altar.

20 He then quartered the ram and burned the head, the quarters and the fat.

21 He then washed the entrails and shins, and burnt the whole ram on the altar, as a burnt offering, offered to be a pleasing smell, as food burnt for Yahweh, as Yahweh had ordered Moses.

22 He then had the other ram brought forward, the ram for the investiture sacrifice. Aaron and his sons laid their hands on its head

23 and Moses slaughtered it. He took some of its blood and put it on the lobe of Aaron’s right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot.

24 He then made Aaron’s sons come forward and he put some of the blood on the lobes of their right ears, on the thumbs of their righthands and on the big toes of their right feet. Next, Moses poured the rest of the blood all around the altar.

25 He then took the fat: the tail, all the fat covering the entrails, the mass of fat over the liver, both kidneys and their fat, and the rightthigh.

26 From the basket of unleavened bread placed before Yahweh, he took an unleavened cake, a cake of bread made with oil, and a wafer; he placed these on the fat and the right thigh,

27 and put it all into Aaron’s hands and those of his sons, and made the gesture of offering before Yahweh.

28 Moses then took them away from them and burned them on the altar, with the burnt offering. This was the investiture sacrifice, offered to be a pleasing smell, as food burnt for Yahweh.

29 Moses then took the forequarter and made the gesture of offering before Yahweh. This was the portion of the ram of investiture that reverted to Moses, as Yahweh had ordered Moses.

30 Moses then took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled Aaron and his vestments, and his sons and their vestments, with it. In this way he consecrated Aaron and his vestments and his sons and their vestments.

31 Moses then said to Aaron and his sons, ‘Cook the meat at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, and eat it there, as also the bread of the investiture sacrifice still in the basket of the investiture offerings, as I ordered, when I said, “Aaron and his sons must eat it.”

32 What remains of the meat and bread you will burn.

33 For seven days you will not leave the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, until the time of your investiture is complete; for your investiture will require seven days.

34 Yahweh has ordered us to do as we have done today to perform the rite of expiation for you;

35 hence, for seven days, day and night, you will remain at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting observing Yahweh’s ritual; do this, and you will not incur death. For this was the order I received.’

36 So Aaron and his sons did everything that Yahweh had ordered through Moses.

Psalm 50

1 [Psalm Of Asaph] The God of gods, Yahweh, is speaking, from east to west he summons the earth.

2 From Zion, perfection of beauty, he shines forth;

3 he is coming, our God, and will not be silent. Devouring fire ahead of him, raging tempest around him,

4 he summons the heavens from on high, and the earth to judge his people.

5 ‘Gather to me my faithful, who sealed my covenant by sacrifice.’

6 The heavens proclaim his saving justice, ‘God himself is judge.

7 ‘Listen, my people, I am speaking, Israel, I am giving evidence against you, I, God, your God.

8 ‘It is not with your sacrifices that I find fault, those burnt offerings constantly before me;

9 I will not accept any bull from your homes, nor a single goat from your folds.

10 ‘For all forest creatures are mine already, the animals on the mountains in their thousands.

11 I know every bird in the air, whatever moves in the fields is mine.

12 ‘If I am hungry I shall not tell you, since the world and all it holds is mine.

13 Am I to eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?

14 ‘Let thanksgiving be your sacrifice to God, fulfil the vows you make to the Most High;

15 then if you call to me in time of trouble I will rescue you and you will honour me.’

16 But to the wicked, God says: ‘What right have you to recite my statutes, to take my covenant on your lips,

17 when you detest my teaching, and thrust my words behind you?

18 ‘You make friends with a thief as soon as you see one, you feel at home with adulterers,

19 your conversation is devoted to wickedness, and your tongue to inventing lies.

20 ‘You sit there, slandering your own brother, you malign your own mother’s son.

21 You do this, and am I to say nothing? Do you think that I am really like you? I charge you, indict you to your face.

22 ‘Think it out, you who forget God, or I will tear you apart without hope of a rescuer.

23 Honour to me is a sacrifice of thanksgiving; to the upright I will show God’s salvation.’

Thoughts and Reflection

Today the plagues continue in Egypt. But what are their significance? Well, first it is to show that God is all-powerful and second it shows his power above all the false gods the Egyptians worship. It is a stunning way to show how the Egyptian gods won’t protect them while Moses’ God does. In doing so, God is also reaching the hearts of the Israelites.

The Israelites have been enslaved in Egypt for hundreds of years and they have been influenced by its culture and religious practices. The plagues are also a sign of God releasing his people from the influence of Egyptian culture and religion.

It is also significant that Moses tells Pharoah that he will be taking all the cattle from Egypt. They didn’t know how to worship God but they did know to take the cattle and will be told later. This is done in the book of Leviticus. This is a book that contains instructions for how to enter the Levitical priesthood.

This brings us to a bigger question. Do you worship God in the manner he asked for (Jesus and the new and everlasting Covenant) or do you worship him in the way you want?

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!


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