New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Eighth Plague: The Locusts. 1 Then the Lord said to Moses: Go to Pharaoh, for I have made him and his servants obstinate in order that I may perform these signs of mine among them 2 and that you may recount to your son and grandson how I made a fool of the Egyptians and what signs I did among them, so that you may know that I am the Lord.(A)
3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and told him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: How long will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go to serve me. 4 For if you refuse to let my people go, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. 5 They will cover the surface of the earth, so that the earth itself will not be visible. They will eat up the remnant you saved undamaged from the hail, as well as all the trees that are growing in your fields. 6 They will fill your houses and the houses of your servants and of all the Egyptians—something your parents and your grandparents have not seen from the day they appeared on this soil until today.” With that he turned and left Pharaoh.
7 But Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long will he be a snare for us? Let the people go to serve the Lord, their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is being destroyed?” 8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, who said to them, “Go, serve the Lord, your God. But who exactly will go?” 9 Moses answered, “With our young and old we must go; with our sons and daughters, with our flocks and herds we must go. It is a pilgrimage feast of the Lord for us.” 10 “The Lord help you,”[a] Pharaoh replied, “if I let your little ones go with you! Clearly, you have some evil in mind. 11 By no means! Just you men go and serve the Lord.[b] After all, that is what you have been asking for.” With that they were driven from Pharaoh’s presence.
12 (B)The Lord then said to Moses: Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come upon it and eat up all the land’s vegetation, whatever the hail has left. 13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the Lord drove an east wind[c] over the land all that day and all night. When it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. 14 The locusts came up over the whole land of Egypt and settled down over all its territory. Never before had there been such a fierce swarm of locusts, nor will there ever be again. 15 They covered the surface of the whole land, so that it became black. They ate up all the vegetation in the land and all the fruit of the trees the hail had spared. Nothing green was left on any tree or plant in the fields throughout the land of Egypt.
16 Pharaoh hurriedly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord, your God, and against you. 17 But now, do forgive me my sin only this once, and pray to the Lord, your God, only to take this death from me.” 18 When Moses left Pharaoh, he prayed to the Lord, 19 and the Lord caused the wind to shift to a very strong west wind, which took up the locusts and hurled them into the Red Sea.[d] Not a single locust remained within the whole territory of Egypt. 20 Yet the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.
Ninth Plague: The Darkness. 21 (C)Then the Lord said to Moses: Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that over the land of Egypt there may be such darkness[e] that one can feel it. 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was dense darkness throughout the land of Egypt for three days. 23 People could not see one another, nor could they get up from where they were, for three days. But all the Israelites had light where they lived.
24 Pharaoh then summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, serve the Lord. Only your flocks and herds will be detained. Even your little ones may go with you.” 25 But Moses replied, “You also must give us sacrifices and burnt offerings to make to the Lord, our God. 26 Our livestock also must go with us. Not an animal must be left behind, for some of them we will select for service[f] to the Lord, our God; but we will not know with which ones we are to serve the Lord until we arrive there.” 27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was unwilling to let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to Moses, “Leave me, and see to it that you do not see my face again! For the day you do see my face you will die!” 29 Moses replied, “You are right! I will never see your face again.”
- 10:10 The Lord help you…: lit., “May the Lord be with you in the same way as I let you…”; a sarcastic blessing intended as a curse.
- 10:11 Pharaoh realized that if the men alone went they would have to return to their families. He suspected that the Hebrews had no intention of returning.
- 10:13 East wind: coming across the desert from Arabia, the strong east wind brings Egypt the burning sirocco and, at times, locusts. Cf. 14:21.
- 10:19 The Red Sea: the traditional translation, cf. Septuagint and other Versions; but the Hebrew literally means “sea of reeds” or “reedy sea,” which could probably be applied to a number of bodies of shallow water, most likely somewhat to the north of the present deep Red Sea.
- 10:21 Darkness: commentators note that at times a storm from the south, called the khamsin, blackens the sky of Egypt with sand from the Sahara; the dust in the air is then so thick that the darkness can, in a sense, “be felt.” But such observations should not obscure the fact that for the biblical author what transpires in each of the plagues is clearly something extraordinary, an event which witnesses to the unrivaled power of Israel’s God.
- 10:26 Service: as is obvious from v. 25, the service in question here is the offering of sacrifice. The continued use of the verb ‘bd “to serve” and related nouns for both the people’s bondage in Egypt and their subsequent service to the Lord dramatizes the point of the conflict between Pharaoh and the God of Israel, who demands from the Israelites an attachment which is exclusive. See Lv 25:55.
New International Version
The Plague of Locusts
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart(A) and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs(B) of mine among them 2 that you may tell your children(C) and grandchildren how I dealt harshly(D) with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”(E)
3 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(F) yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 4 If you refuse(G) to let them go, I will bring locusts(H) into your country tomorrow. 5 They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left(I) after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields.(J) 6 They will fill your houses(K) 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.’”(L) Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.
8 Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship(O) the Lord your God,” he said. “But tell me who will be going.”
9 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(P) to the Lord.”
10 Pharaoh said, “The Lord be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil.[a] 11 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.
12 And the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand(Q) over Egypt so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.”
13 So Moses stretched out his staff(R) 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;(S) 14 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,(T) nor will there ever be again. 15 They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured(U) 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.
16 Pharaoh quickly summoned(V) Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned(W) against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now forgive(X) my sin once more and pray(Y) to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”
18 Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord.(Z) 19 And the Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea.[b] Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart,(AA) and he would not let the Israelites go.
The Plague of Darkness
21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness(AB) spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness(AC) covered all Egypt for three days. 23 No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.(AD)
25 But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings(AH) to present to the Lord our God. 26 Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind. We have to use some of them in worshiping the Lord our God, and until we get there we will not know what we are to use to worship the Lord.”
27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart,(AI) and he was not willing to let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.”
29 “Just as you say,” Moses replied. “I will never appear(AJ) before you again.”