The Plague Of Locusts


In Exodus 7-12, Moses through the power of God releases 10 plagues of different sorts on the land of Egypt which included, turning all the water to blood, plagues of insects, boils, and hail. Finally, the death of every first-born son included the death of Pharaoh’s eldest who would someday inherit the kingdom of Egypt.

We will see that they were delivered not just to let Pharaoh know who God was but also to let the Israelites know who God was. Because they have been enslaved for 430 years, they didn’t know God, they have become used to being enslaved and used to being around the idol gods of Egypt. And so not only did God have to convince Pharaoh who He was, but He also had to convince the Israelites who He was.


Some people question if the miracles recorded were actually miracles, note the following thoughts.

1. In each case they were accurately foretold, as to the time and place of occurrence.

2. The intensity of such things as the frogs and lice was beyond all possibility of what could have been expected naturally.

3. Both their occurrence and their ending were demonstrated to be under the control and subject to the Word of God through Moses.

4. There was discrimination, some of the plagues afflicting the Egyptians and yet at the same time sparing the Israelites.

5. There was orderliness in their appearance, each event more severe than the one that preceded it, concluding with the most devastating of all, the death of the firstborn.

6. Also, there was progression in relation to the reaction of Pharaoh’s servants. At first, they could do anything that Moses did, but at last, admitted their failure and affirmed that ‘This is the finger of God!’

7. Over and beyond all this, there was a moral purpose in the plagues, they were not mere freaks of nature.

Now, remember that the ten plagues were actually ten disasters sent upon Egypt by God to convince Pharaoh to free the Israelite slaves from the bondage and oppression they had endured in Egypt for 430 years.

When God sent Moses to deliver the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt, He promised to show His wonders as confirmation of Moses’ authority, Exodus 3:20.

This confirmation was to serve at least two purposes, firstly, to show the Israelites that the God of their fathers was alive and worthy of their worship and secondly, to show the Egyptians that their gods were nothing.

The Egyptians worshipped a wide variety of nature gods and attributed to their powers the natural phenomena they saw in the world around them. There was a god of the sun, of the river, of childbirth, of crops, etc.

Events like the annual flooding of the Nile, which fertilized their croplands, were evidence of their god’s powers and goodwill. When Moses approached Pharaoh, demanding that he let the people go, Pharaoh responded by saying “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2. And so from that point onwards, the challenge was on to show whose God was more powerful.


‘Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD.” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your parents nor your ancestors have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.’” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh. Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the LORD their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?” Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the LORD your God,” he said. “But tell me who will be going.” Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the LORD.” Pharaoh said, “The LORD be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil. No! Have only the men go and worship the LORD, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence. And the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.” So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the LORD made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again. They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the LORD your God to take this deadly plague away from me.” Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD. And the LORD changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea. Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.’ Exodus 10:1-20

Here read about the eighth plague, locusts. Again this was a judgment against the Egyptian gods, ‘Nut’, ‘Osiris’, and ‘Set’. God here tells us two reasons why He hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

1. He chose Pharaoh so that He might show the signs of the plagues to him.

2. God wanted Israel and all mankind to have a record of this great work of God, Psalm 78Psalm 105.

The later crops, wheat and rye, which had survived the hail, were now devoured by the swarms of locusts which would ultimately result in there being no harvest in Egypt that year.

It’s interesting to note that it was Pharaoh’s servants who informed him about what was happening, this suggests that Pharaoh didn’t go out much except for his early morning walks to worship, Exodus 7:14.

Because they knew exactly what was going on in Egypt and the devastation the plagues had caused, they were the ones pleading with Pharaoh.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Just as this mighty locust plague was the harbinger of the ultimate judgment and destruction of Pharaoh, ‘it is also a type of the plagues which will precede the last judgment.’ The prophet Joel, Joel 1-2, thus interpreted a severe locust plague that struck Judah.’

Keil, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The locust plague forms the groundwork for the description in Revelation 9:3-10, just as Joel discerned it as the day of the Lord, i.e., of the Great Day of Judgment, which is advancing step by step in all the great judgments of history, or rather of the conflict between the kingdom of God and the powers of this world and will be finally accomplished in the last general judgment.’

Pharaoh again appears to soften his heart and gives in to the request of Moses and Aaron to take the Israelites on a journey for three days in the wilderness to worship God.

However, once again Pharaoh puts terms and conditions before them, he wants Moses to leave families and flocks in Egypt whilst they go to worship. This was obviously some kind of insurance policy to ensure the Israelites would return. Moses and Aaron were not willing to compromise with Pharaoh.

Something which is often overlooked is that God made the ‘east wind’ blow to bring the locusts into Egypt and He also made the wind blow to remove the locusts.

There’s nothing new about locusts entering a place and destroying everything in their path but here the real miracle is seen in that happened at the very time God said to Moses it would happen.

Don’t miss the fact that the locusts didn’t go into Goshen either, but they covered the whole of Egypt. The impact on Egypt would have been devastating as the locusts would have eaten all the food in Egypt which forced the Egyptians to buy food from God’s people.