Exodus 10:5
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 remains to you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which grows for you out of the field:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) They shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth.—This is the case almost invariably with all the severer visitations of locusts. “The plain was covered with them,” says Denon (Travels, p. 286), speaking of Egypt. “The ground is covered with them for several leagues,” declares Volney (Travels, vol. i., p. 285).” Over an area of 1,600 or 1,800 square miles,” observes Barrow, “the whole surface might literally be said to be covered with them.” The Hebrew name, which means “multitudinous,” is thus very appropriate.

They shall eat the residue of that which is escaped . . . every tree.—Comp. Exodus 9:32. The description of Joel has never been surpassed: “A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them” (Joel 2:3). Comp. Volney (50s.100): When their swarms appear, everything green vanishes instantaneously from the fields, as if a curtain were rolled up; the trees and plants stand leafless, and nothing is seen but naked boughs and stalks.” Very graphic is Joel again in respect of this last feature: “He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig-tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white” (Joel 1:7). Nor is it only shrubs, but even trees, that suffer. “They are particularly injurious to the palm-trees,” says Burckhardt; “these they strip of everv leaf and green particle, the trees remaining like skeletons, with bare branches.”

Exodus 10:5. They shall cover the face — Hebrew, the eye; of the earth — That is, of its inhabitants; that one cannot be able to see the earth — It is observable that no living creature multiplies so fast as the locust. It is almost incredible in what swarms they are sometimes seen in some parts. Thevenot gives an account of armies of locusts laying waste the country of the Cossacks. “They live,” he says, “about six months, and lay their eggs in autumn, to the number of three hundred each, which are hatched in the spring following. Such as have been eye-witnesses report, that they have seen the whole air in Arabia darkened by them, in their flight, for eighteen or twenty miles.” “They eclipse the light of the sun,” says Pliny, “in their flight, the people looking up to them in anxious suspense lest they should cover their whole country. They are so destructive that large territories have bean laid bare by them in a few hours, and the inhabitants reduced to famine. They do not spare even the bark of trees, but eat every thing that comes in their way, even to the very doors of the houses.”10:1-11 The plagues of Egypt show the sinfulness of sin. They warn the children of men not to strive with their Maker. Pharaoh had pretended to humble himself; but no account was made of it, for he was not sincere therein. The plague of locusts is threatened. This should be much worse than any of that kind which had ever been known. Pharaoh's attendants persuade him to come to terms with Moses. Hereupon Pharaoh will allow the men to go, falsely pretending that this was all they desired. He swears that they shall not remove their little ones. Satan does all he can to hinder those that serve God themselves, from bringing their children to serve him. He is a sworn enemy to early piety. Whatever would put us from engaging our children in God's service, we have reason to suspect Satan in it. Nor should the young forget that the Lord's counsel is, Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth; but Satan's counsel is, to keep children in a state of slavery to sin and to the world. Mark that the great foe of man wishes to retain him by the ties of affection, as Pharaoh would have taken hostages from the Israelites for their return, by holding their wives and children in captivity. Satan is willing to share our duty and our service with the Saviour, because the Saviour will not accept those terms.The face - Literally, cover "the eye of the earth," alluding to the darkness which follows, when the whole atmosphere is filled on all sides and to a great height by an innumerable quantity of these insects.

Shall eat every tree - Not only the leaves, but the branches and even the wood were attacked and devoured. The Egyptians were passionately fond of trees.

4. to-morrow will I bring the locusts—Moses was commissioned to renew the request, so often made and denied, with an assurance that an unfavorable answer would be followed on the morrow by an invasion of locusts. This species of insect resembles a large, spotted, red and black, double-winged grasshopper, about three inches or less in length, with the two hind legs working like hinged springs of immense strength and elasticity. Perhaps no more terrible scourge was ever brought on a land than those voracious insects, which fly in such countless numbers as to darken the land which they infest; and on whatever place they alight, they convert it into a waste and barren desert, stripping the ground of its verdure, the trees of their leaves and bark, and producing in a few hours a degree of desolation which it requires the lapse of years to repair. The residue; the wheat and the rye, the staff of their lives. Every tree; the fruits and leaves of every tree. And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth,.... Or, "cover the eye of the earth" (z); either the appearance and colour of the earth, so as they could not be discerned for the multitude of the locusts on it; so the word is used in Numbers 11:7 or the eye of man looking upon the earth, which would not be able to see it, because the locusts would be between his eye and the earth. The Targum of Onkelos is,"and shall cover the eye of the sun of the earth,''so that its rays shall not reach the earth; and so Abarbinel interprets it of the sun, which is the light of the earth, when it casts forth its rays, as the eye upon the object that is seen; and the meaning is, that the locusts should be so thick between the heavens and the earth, that the eye of the earth, which is the sun, could not see or cast its rays upon it, as in Exodus 10:15, and so Pliny says (a), that locusts came sometimes in such multitudes as to darken the sun:

and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail; particularly the wheat and the rye, or rice, which was not grown, Exodus 9:32 and the herb or grass of the land, Exodus 10:12.

and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field; such fruit trees as escaped the hail, and such boughs and branches of them which were not broken off by it, Exodus 10:15 and locusts will indeed eat trees themselves, the bark of them, and gnaw everything, even the doors of houses, as Pliny (b) relates.

(z) "oculum terrae", Montanus, Piscator; so Ainsworth. (a) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 29. (b) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 29.

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:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. they shall cover, &c.] This is literally true of locusts. As Thomson says of an invasion in the Lebanon district, ‘Their number was astounding; the whole face of the mountain was black with them’ (Joel, p. 89).

face] Heb. eye. A peculiar usage: so v. 15, Numbers 22:5; Numbers 22:11.

they shall eat, &c.] their voracity is insatiable. Cf. Joel 2:3, with the passage cited in the writer’s note from a traveller, ‘On whatever spot they fall, the whole vegetable produce disappears. Nothing escapes them, from the leaves on the forest to the herbs on the plain.’Verse 5. - They shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth. This is one of the points most frequently noticed by travellers. "The ground is covered with them for several leagues," says Volney. "The steppes," says Clarke, "were entirely covered by their bodies." "Over an area of 1600 or 1800 square miles," observes Barrow, "the whole surface might literally be said to be covered with them." They shall eat the residue of that which escaped. Locusts eat every atom of verdure in the district attacked by them. "In A.D. ," says Barhebraeus, "a large swarm of locusts appeared in the land of Mosul and Baghdad, and it was very grievous in Shiraz. It left no herb nor even leaf on the trees. When their swarms appear," writes Volney, "everything green vanishes instantaneously from the fields, as if a curtain were rolled up; the trees and plants stand leafless, and nothing is seen but naked boughs and stalks." And shall eat every tree. The damage done by locusts to trees is very great. "He (the locust) has laid my vine waste, and barked my fig-tree; he hath made it clean bare and east it away; the branches thereof are made white" (Joel 1:7). Travellers constantly notice this fact. "When they have devoured all other vegetables," says one, "they attack the trees, consuming first the leaves, then the bark." "After having consumed herbage, fruit, leaves of trees," says another, "they attacked even their young shoots and their bark." "They are particularly injurious to the palm-trees," writes a third; "these they strip of every leaf and green particle, the trees remaining like skeletons with bare branches." A fourth notes that "the bushes were eaten quite bare, though the animals could not have been long on the spot. They sat by hundreds on a bush, gnawing the rind and the woody fibres." (See Pusey's Minor Prophets, p. 106.) But even this plague did not lead Pharaoh to alter his mind. As soon as it had ceased on the intercession of Moses, he and his servants continued sinning and hardening their hearts.
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