From Eternity Past


Pharaoh Again Hardens His Heart

The answer was, “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.” EP 186.4

The king was filled with rage. He cried, “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.” Pharaoh pretended to have deep interest in their welfare and a tender care for their little ones, but his real object was to keep the women and children as surety for the return of the men. EP 186.5

Moses now stretched forth his rod over the land, and an east wind brought locusts “Very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.” They filled the sky till the land was darkened, and devoured every green thing remaining. EP 186.6

Pharaoh sent for the prophet in haste, and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you... . Entreat the Lord your God, that He may take away from me this death only.” They did so, and a strong west wind carried away the locusts toward the Red Sea. Still the king persisted in his stubborn resolution. EP 187.1

The people of Egypt were ready to despair, and they were filled with fear for the future. The nation had worshiped Pharaoh as a representative of their god; but many were now convinced that he was opposing himself to One who made all the powers of nature the ministers of His will. The Hebrew slaves were becoming confident of deliverance. Throughout Egypt there was a secret fear that the enslaved race would rise and avenge their wrongs. Everywhere men were asking, What will come next? EP 187.2

Suddenly a darkness settled upon the land, so thick and black that it seemed a “darkness which may be felt.” Breathing was difficult. “They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.” The sun and moon were objects of worship to the Egyptians. In this mysterious darkness the people and their gods alike were smitten. (See Appendix, Note 2.) Yet fearful as it was, this judgment is an evidence of God's compassion and unwillingness to destroy. He would give the people time for reflection and repentance before bringing upon them the last and most terrible of the plagues. EP 187.3

At the end of the third day of darkness Pharaoh summoned Moses and consented to the departure of the people, provided the flocks and herds were permitted to remain. “There shall not a hoof be left behind,” replied the resolute Hebrew. The king's anger burst forth beyond control. “Get thee from me,” he cried, “take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.” EP 187.4

The answer was, “Thou hast spoken well; I will see thy face again no more.” EP 188.1

The man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people. The king dared not harm him, for the people looked upon him as alone possessing power to remove the plagues. They desired that the Israelites might be permitted to leave Egypt. It was the king and the priests that opposed to the last the demands of Moses. EP 188.2