Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part I: God's Deliverance Of Israel Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
P. God's Glorifying Himself By The Plague Of Darkness
(Exodus 10:21-29)
  1. Introduction
    1. We have noted that Scripture reveals five goals for the plagues of Egypt: they came to deliver Israel from Egypt, to answer Pharaoh's question of "Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice and let Israel go?", to reveal God's power to Israel, to reveal the earth belongs to the Lord and not Egypt's gods and to judge all the gods of Egypt, R. Grigg, "The Ten Plagues of Egypt," Creation (v. 27, no. l), Dec.-Feb. 05, p. 36.
    2. For such goals to be reached, the plagues would have to be seen as miracles by the Egyptians.
    3. However, naturalistic explanations for the plagues were offered by Greta Hort in 1957, a scholar of medieval English literature and religion, and her views are cited in reference works today, Ibid., p. 34, 38.
    4. Thus, we view Scripture and scientific data to see if the ninth plague was a true miracle that glorified God:
  2. God's Glorifying Himself By The Plague Of Darkness, Exodus 10:21-29.
    1. The Biblical account of the ninth plague is as follows:
      1. God directed Moses to stretch out his hand toward the heaven that there might be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness "which may be felt," Exodus 10:21 KJV (also NIV, ESV) [emphasis ours]
      2. Consequently, the plague came for three days: it kept the Egyptians in their homes as they could not even see one another though Israel had light in Goshen, Exodus 10:22-23.
      3. Pharaoh told Moses to take Israel and their children into the wilderness, but not their animals, Exodus 10:24. Moses replied that the animals had to go as they were needed for sacrifice, Exodus 10:25-26.
      4. Pharaoh hardened his heart, refusing to let Israel go, and he warned Moses not to see his face anymore lest he be killed, 10:27-28. Moses responded that he would not see Pharaoh's face again, Ex. 10:29!
    2. Greta Hort gave a naturalistic explanation for the plague to counter the view that it was a miracle: she held it was a desert sandstorm, a khamsin "which blotted out the sun by throwing into the air the blanket of fine red dust from the first plague, left on the ground when the . . . Nile floodwaters receded." (Ibid., p. 34)
    3. However, the scientific data and Biblical record do not support Hort's or other naturalistic explanations:
      1. Hort did not "explain how the khamsin dried out this massive saturation of the alleged red mud coating so that it could have turned into dust and been blown aloft in just a few hours." (Ibid., p. 36)
      2. Also, a normal sandstorm would not lead Pharaoh to let Israel go even if it lasted for three days. (Ibid.)
      3. Besides, Israel had light in Goshen all during the three days of intense darkness in the rest of the land of Egypt, something that would be impossible with a natural sandstorm, cf. Exodus 10:23!
      4. This plague can not be explained as a natural solar eclipse, for that would not have let light exist in Goshen for three days while total darkness lasted elsewhere in Egypt, cf. Bib. Kno. Com., O. T., p. 125.
      5. Ryrie allows for a combination sandstorm and supernatural darkness to explain the plague, Ibid.; Ryrie St. Bib., KJV, ftn. to Ex. 10:21. However, this explanation does not allow for a sandstorm that would leave Goshen free while immersing the rest of Egypt in deep darkness for 3 days (unless one suggests a supernatural sandstorm; yet, why allow for that when the supernatural darkness alone would suffice?!)
      6. The ninth plague was a miracle, and the "darkness could be felt" in a figurative way in that it was so dark, the people afflicted by it had to remain put since they could not even see one another, Ex. 10:23! [The Hebrew word for "felt" (mashash) in Ex. 10:21 is sometimes used to describe how the blind "grope" about to find their way (B. D. B., Heb. and Eng. Lex. of the O. T., p. 606-607); its use here describes the greatness of the darkness involved, a darkness where the Egyptians stayed home because they needed to grope about as the blind do for not being able to see one another even at close range!]
    4. This plague opposed Egypt's "supreme god, the sun-god Ra or Amon-Ra (also spelt Re)" who was felt "to bring light and heat to the earth. Other sky gods . . . Horus, Seker, Khepri, Mut and Nut." (Ibid., p. 37)
Lesson: (1) No naturalistic explanation of the ninth plague adequately fits the Scripture record, so (2) it was a miracle showing the inability of Egypt's gods to provide light and heat on the earth.

Application: May we believe the plague of darkness was a miracle, and worship the Bible's Creator God as the One, True God of light and heat on the earth!