The Eighth Plague - RR171P27

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: The Eighth Plague
Course: Course - Exodus; Unity of Law and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 27
Length: 0:34:39
TapeCode: RR171P27
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Exodus Unity of Law and Grace.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.

Let us worship God. This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. Having these promises, let us draw near to the throne of grace with true hearts in full assurance of faith. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, oh Lord, in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. Let us pray.

Oh Lord, our God we give thanks unto thee that day after day thy mercies are new every morning. That we live and move and have our being in thee, whose purposes are all wise and all holy. We thank thee that all our yesterdays thou hast made to work together for good in terms of thine eternal purpose, and all our tomorrows come from thine hand. Give us grace, therefore, to walk in faith, to walk in the confidence that all eternity is ours, and that all thy blessings to us in Jesus Christ are Yea and Amen. Bless us now as we give ourselves to the study of thy word. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Our subject today is the Eighth Plague. Exodus 10:1-20. Exodus 10 verses 1-20. The Eighth Plague. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD. And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast: And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field: And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh. And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the LORD your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD. And he said unto them, Let the LORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you. Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the LORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence. And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left. And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locust went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only. And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the LORD. And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.” [00:06:37]

This eighth plague is of locusts, and it is interesting...[edit]

This eighth plague is of locusts, and it is interesting that in the past three days, the newspapers have had stories about a large segment of Africa, several countries, where they expect nothing to survive the march of the locusts. All food in the field will be destroyed and all the leaves of the trees will be consumed. Locusts can be a major problem. But this is not a fact which registers too strongly with modern urban people. Modern man’s life separates him from the earth and he has, as a result, a heedless and unrealistic outlook, but locusts can lead the famine if an infestation is widespread. In fact, this whole are would have had an infestation this year had it not been for the very late cold weather, the frost, that destroyed them.

In the west, since World War I, locusts have, at times, been so thick that automobiles have skidded on highways as on ice. This occurred in Nevada. Clothing on clotheslines in the west hung out to dry has disappeared completely when the locusts appeared, and only the tiny piece under the clothespin clasp remained. To open a door would bring hundreds into a house. This I have seen. For all of Egypt to be infested meant that the later grain crops were devoured, as were all the leaves on the trees, because all the land, the whole land was affected. Food had to be purchased from other countries, further decapitalizing Egypt. Ellison is right in describing locust plagues in Antiquity and now as things of and his word is “terror,” and that they are still a thing of terror where they occur, because they strip a people of everything, and they destroy trees. [00:09:36]

In verse 2 we are told that God requires that this...[edit]

In verse 2 we are told that God requires that this and other plagues be remembered, and the account thereof told and retold. Some paraphrases stress Gods contempt for Egypt as He says this. James Moffitt rendered the central part of verse 2 in these words, “You may tell your sons and grandsons how I made fools of the Egyptians.” Robert L. Cate rendered it, “I have made sport of the Egyptians.” While this is not the exact wording, it is the implication of it. Alan Cole also saw it as God made sport of the Egyptians. Those who treat God lightly always find, in due time, that God treats them very lightly.

Meanwhile, Pharaoh’s authority was eroding. His servants, or palace staff, said to him, How long will this man be a snare to them? They insisted, this was an unthinkable thing that he let the Hebrews go as they requested. Knowest thou not, knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? They are talking back to Pharaoh. The condition is so desperate that they talk like desperate men. It is blunt speaking, and it tells us of the disintegration of Pharaoh’s authority. As a result, Pharaoh had Aaron and Moses recalled, and he said he was willing to let the men go but the women and children had to remain as hostages. Pharaoh denied Israel the freedom to leave when Moses found these terms unacceptable, so the locust came upon Egypt. In such an infestation, not only is all vegetation eaten in the fields and all the leaves of the trees, but even wood is attacked and marred. Because when you have hundreds of thousands of locusts hitting everything in their path, they can damage very seriously even wood. Pharaoh however, was a loser, even before the locusts were unleashed against Egypt. [00:12:45]

His staff now bitterly resented his stubborn pride...[edit]

His staff now bitterly resented his stubborn pride and its consequences for Egypt. As a result, Pharaoh’s situation was a very, very precarious one. People are not long loyal to a ruler whose policies are destroying them. In Psalm 105:34 and 35, we have a reference to the destructiveness of this plague. The memory of the plagues on Egypt lasted for centuries, and other people at time were fearful of Israel because of that knowledge of what God had done for Israel. As Chadwick noted, and I quote, “As so we find many years after all this generation had passed away, that a strangely distorted version of these events is current among the Philistines in Palestine. In the days of Eli when the ark was brought into the camp, they says, “Woe unto us! Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty gods. These are the gods that smote the Egyptians with all manner of plagues in the wilderness. And this, along with the impression which Rahab declared, that the exodus and what followed it had made, may help us to understand what a mighty influence upon the wars of Palestine the scouring of Egypt had. How terror fell upon all the inhabitants of Canaan and they melted away.”

Well, the loss of historical memory goes hand in hand with the loss of an awareness of consequences, of causality. Men devalue the past because they refuse to learn from it. As a result, one generation after another repeats the follies of the past. One of the great observations of Desraili {?} was that practical men are men who repeat the blunders of their predecessors. Men who ignore the past do so because they believe they can or have transcended it. Sins are repeated because men assume that they now govern all the consequences. Thus, whether it be the adoption of euthanasia and abortion, or the abandonment of the gold standard, men assume that their new wisdom and their new power nullify morality and causality. But morality and causality are inseparably tied together. Paul tells us that the wages of sin are death. The causality of creation is God-ordained, and therefore, causality, because it is God-ordained is a moral fact. [00:16:22]

We have today an assault on both morality and causality...[edit]

We have today an assault on both morality and causality. Pharaoh rejected God and God’s man, Moses, and as a result, God’s causality took its price, a moral judgment on Egypt. A visitation of locusts in the Canary Islands three centuries ago is described by an eyewitness, Gaudet{?}, a Frenchman who was visiting there, and I’d like to quote it. He wrote, “The air was so full of them that I could not eat in my chamber without a candle. All the houses being full of them, even the stables, barns, chambers, garrets, and cellars. I caused canon powder and sulfur to be burnt to expel them but all to no purpose. Well, when the door was opened, an infinite number came in and the others went out, fluttering about. And it was a troublesome thing when a man went abroad to be hit on the face by those creatures so that there was no opening one’s mouth that some would get in. Yet all this was nothing, for when we were to eat, these creatures gave us no respite, and when we cut a bit of meat, we cut a locust with it, and when a man opened his mouth to put in a morsel, he was sure to chew a locust. I have seen them at night when they sit to rest then, that the roads were four inches thick of them, one upon another, so that the horses would not trample over them, but as they were put on with much lashing, pricking up their ears, snorting and treading fearfully. The wheels of our carts and the feet of our horses bruising these creatures, there came forth from them such a stench that not only offended the nose but the brain. I was not able to endure it but was forced to wash my nose with vinegar and hold a handkerchief dipped in vinegar continually at my nostrils.”

Now, this is not an account of an infestation which is as devastating as has repeatedly occurred, nor as severe as that upon Egypt. The old National Geographics will give you pictures, by the way, of such plagues, in the very beginning stages, because usually they took pictures and ran. Hyatt describes the damage from locust plagues from ancient and modern times with the word, “enormous.” As a result, Pharaoh, knowing the devastation locust could work, attempted for the first time to negotiate with Moses, in advance, to prevent a plague from coming on the land. Martin Noth {?}, a very critical and supercilious German scholar, nonetheless described the routine results of plagues of locusts as “dreadful famine,” his words. [00:20:11]

Thus, Pharaoh knew this, but he refused to surrender...[edit]

Thus, Pharaoh knew this, but he refused to surrender to God, anything but that. Instead, in verse 10, we are told that he charged Moses “evil is before you,” or evil is what you purpose. Then as now, the evil ones charge the godly with evil motives and acts. By this they, of course, underscore the necessity for judgment. We are told, in verse 11 that Moses had, uh Pharaoh had Moses and Aaron driven out of his presence. In so doing, he brought in judgment. The locust in such infestations cling to a man’s skin and clothing. They cover him when he attempts to sleep. They are a nightmare to live with. All this did not cause Pharaoh to do more than pretend repentance. Sin leads to, even as it begins in not only moral evil but it leads to irrationality. Pharaoh’s men had told him, “Knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? Have you not yet realized that you have destroyed Egypt?” This Pharaoh refused to recognize more than momentarily. Then, as now, men at war against God choose death because they are the enemies of life.

Igor Shafarevich has said of Marxism, that it seeks the abolition of private property, the destruction of religion, the death of the family, and the death of man, and he is right. This is the end result of sin. “All they that hate me,” we are told emphatically by scripture, “love death.” Every form of unbelief is in some degree a pursuit of death. “He that sinneth against me,” God declares, “wrongeth his own soul. All they that hate me, love death.” Let us pray.

Our Lord, and our God, we thank thee that through thy word thou hast given us a knowledge of the past, a knowledge of causality, a knowledge of morality, whereby we may be warned, or whereby we may be strengthened and protected, and we thank thee for thy word. We thank thee that, by thy spirit, we are made to understand and know so that we may become more than conquerors in Jesus Christ. Our God, we thank thee. In Christ’s name, amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes? [00:23:59]

[Audience] There’s a similarity between the phrase...[edit]

[Audience] There’s a similarity between the phrase, “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart,” and the Greek observation that, “those whom the gods will destroy they first make mad.”

[Rushdoony] Yes. Very, very much the same. And it’s that kind of madness that is very much a part of our time. A radical irrationality and an inability to see causality. Yes?

[Audience] {?} columns are beginning to appear about the Christian response to the Last Temptation film. There’s a long column in today’s Examiner, Examiner Chronicle, portraying a fictional pagan who is incensed over the way Zeus was being portrayed on the stage. So, they’re now making fun of the protesters.

[Rushdoony] Well, well, that reminds me of a quatrain William Cooper wrote about Homer, and the idolatry of the Greeks in his day, and the gist of the quatrain was that if Homer appeared at the door of lady so-and-so, he would have her servants throw him out as a stupid beggar. Yes?

[Audience] Perhaps you addressed this two weeks ago on the plague of boils when I wasn’t here, the phrase which Otto made reference to, God hardening Pharaoh’s heart, is mentioned in that plague, and this one and the next one, whereas the other one simply says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart, or that his heart was hard. What do we say about Pharaoh’s culpability {?}

[Rushdoony] Yes. The point of this is that as men persist in their sin, in their depravity and their war against God, and as they harden their heart against God, after a point there is no turning about. God hardens their heart, He blinds them. It is to be compared to what Isaiah says in the sixth chapter when he reports that God, in commissioning him tells him to preach the word to these people, whose “seeing will not see and hearing they will not hear, lest they turn and their hearts be converted.” They are to be judged and doomed. They’ve gone too far, and so at first, Pharaoh is hardening his heart. Then after a point, God has hardened his heart, so that not even when his servants tell him, “Don’t you see what you’re doing, Egypt has been destroyed?” he refuses more than momentarily to face up to reality. [00:29:32]

[Audience] Sort of like if you tell a lie long enough...[edit]

[Audience] Sort of like if you tell a lie long enough, you {?} the truth.

[Rushdoony] Yes. And a lie becomes established as a part of history. I was interested to read that all the talk, this is in a book I’ve been reading on the Civil War, and by the way it gives two pages of all the names that have been given to that war by various writers and historians, the myth that General Grant was a drunkard, or that he was ever drunk. He was given to drinking, but never was known to have been drunk. The remark that supposedly Lincoln made and which is in all kinds of books that if he knew the brand of whiskey Grant used, he’d send it to all his generals, is also not true. And yet, remarks like that and the stories about Grant have gone into history books, and it is routinely assumed that he was a drinking man, and alike myth has to do with Robert E. Lee. He was not a tall man, he was quite short, and his shoe size was 4 ½. But, he had such a quiet dignity and a commanding manner that people couldn’t remember that he was short, they never thought of him as a particularly small man, so history is often not history. Yes?

[Audience] I heard on the radio this morning an example of what you were saying about sin leads to irrationality as it pertains to plagues. During the cultural revolution in China, they told the people good Communists to kill the birds because they were eating the seed. And so the bird population was so decimated that ever since the cultural revolution of China which sustains its agriculture for thousands of year, had to have a heavy reliance on pesticides. So, they created its own plague.

[Rushdoony] Yes, there are several countries that have created serious problems because refusing to tell the truth about their economic conditions, they have seen the destruction of birds. And there are parts of the world where there are no birds now, simply because the people, in their poverty, have killed and eaten every bird that appears. They have devised all kinds of ingenious snares and traps in order to kill birds. So, there are more than a few problems that are developing because of the absence of birds. China, of course, is the most conspicuous example.

[Audience] Well, we cut down trees. Every time {?} leveled all the trees because they interfered with the shop windows and the merchants thought they’d rather display their goods, and where are birds without trees?

[Rushdoony] Yes, yes.

[Audience] They are cutting trees down around where I live with {?}

[Rushdoony] Well, and a drought here leads to the death of birds. This year is very hard, all over the country, for birds, and for animals generally, this is why so many bears in Yosemite and elsewhere are having to be killed, because for lack of food they are now foraging in the camps in increasing numbers, and some that persist and get dangerous they have to kill. It also means that because there is less feed, on account of the drought, it’s very hard for me to pick any fruit before the birds around our place get to them. One peach tree was completely devoured by birds except for one peach. All the others, and there were a number, the birds got. This is true all over the world wherever you have the drought. Now, consider what that meant for Egypt, one plague after another decimating it, so they had to bring in animals from outside to buy them, and food and grain from outside. And if Pharaoh persisted in his tactics, he had all the earmarks of a modern politician. He was as blind to reality. Well, if there are no further comments or questions, let us bow our heads in prayer. [00:33:24]

Our Lord and our God, we thank thee that in a time...[edit]

Our Lord and our God, we thank thee that in a time of judgment, there is mercy. That in a time of trouble, thou art our ever-present strength, and refuge. And so we come to thee, our Father, knowing that thou hast redeemed us for thy purpose, and thou wilt preserve us for thy purpose and thy kingdom. And now, go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always, amen.

End of tape.