The Plague of Darkness
This was the last of the final triad of plagues, and represented a shadow of the extreme seriousness of the final plague, the death of the first-born. The last plague came without any warning to the King. The nature of thus plague was physical darkness, throughout the land of Egypt.
“He sent darkness, and made the land dark; they did not rebel against his words” (Psalms 105:28 ESV).
This is the kind of darkness we read of in horror books. It a darkness so heavy, it seems to be almost tangible, tactile. While there had been darkness on the land with the plague of locusts, that was nothing, compared to this one. The emotional and psychological impact of this type of darkness is hard to even imagine.
This would also have been an attack of one of the greatest of the gods - Ra, the sun god. It may have also been directed against “Horus, a sun god; Nut, a sky goddess; Hathor, a sky goddess.”3
And so God once again showed His total power over the nation and gods of Egypt. We are told the duration of the plague was three days. It was so extensive, it forced everyone to stay wherever they were, for they couldn’t even find their way around.
It is also noted the Israelites had light where ever they lived. I think the wording is different here, for the thought is the lack of darkness wasn’t just limited to the land of Goshen, but included anywhere a Hebrew lived. This may have meant that in the darkened land of Egypt, one could find little spots of light around a Hebrew home.
This is a problem for the King. If people couldn’t even get around, then how could one conduct business? So once again, he sent for Moses. I picture this as a very strange scene. There was Pharaoh sitting in the dark in the throne room and here came Moses and Aaron walking is a spot light that followed them as they advance toward the throne.
This time, the King said the Hebrews, including women and children, could go to worship God. But Pharaoh hadn’t really changed his mind about taking a chance the people would cut out,, instead of going to worship God. He told Moses that he could take the people, but he couldn’t take the livestock. Hey, if they had to leave their goods in Egypt, then of course, they’d come back.
Moses was ready with the answer. They had to take the animals; after all, they were going to worship their God, and this meant they would be making sacrifices. Apparently, at least according to Moses, it wouldn’t be until they got to the wilderness, that they would know which animals were to be sacrificed. As with some previous debates, Moses was putting the King on the spot, forcing him to show his hand.
Well it worked, for Pharaoh finally lost it. He hardened his heart and made it clear he has no intention of letting the people go. He has also had enough of Moses and plagues. He told Moses, that if he comes to the court again, then it will be the last time he goes anywhere. Moses, as might be expected, says, “fine then, you wouldn’t see me again.”
- Hannah, John D., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Volume 1, “Exodus,” Victor Books, Wheaton, IL., 1986, p. 120.
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