Exodus 10:19 MEANING

Exodus 10:19
(19) The Lord turned a mighty strong west wind . . . --As locusts come, so they commonly go, with a wind. They cannot fly far without one. It often happens that a wind blows them into the sea. Pallas says, speaking of Crimean locusts in the year 1799:--"Great numbers of them were carried [from the Crimea] by northerly winds into the sea, where they perished, and were afterwards washed on shore in heaps" (Travels, vol. ii., p. 424).

The Red sea.--Heb., the sea of weeds, or of rushes. The Red Sea probably acquired this name among the Hebrews from the fact that in the time of Moses its north-western recess communicated with a marshy tract, extending as far as the Bitter Lakes, and abounding in aquatic plants of a luxuriant growth. (Comp. Exodus 2:3, where the same term designates the water-plants of the Nile.)

There remained not one locust . . . --Niebuhr says of locusts in Arabia:--"Souvent il en reste beaucoup apres le depart general" (Description de l' Arabie, p. 153). But, on the other hand, there are times when the whole swarm takes its departure at once. "A wind from the south-west," says Morier, "which had brought them, so completely drove them forwards that not a vestige of them was to be seen two hours afterwards" (Second Journey, p. 98).

Verse 19. - And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind. Literally, "a very strong sea-wind" - i.e. one which blew from the Mediterranean, and which might, therefore, so far, be north, north-west, or north-east. As it blew the locusts into the "Sea of Weeds," i.e. the Red Sea, it must have been actually a north-west wind, and so passing obliquely over Egypt, have carried the locusts in a south-easterly direction. Cast them into the Red Sea. Literally, "the Sea of Weeds." No commentater doubts that the Red Sea is here meant. It 'seems to have received its Hebrew appellation, Yam Suph, "Sea of Weeds," either from the quantity of sea-weed which it throws up, or, more probably, from the fact that anciently its north-western recess was connected with a marshy tract extending from the present head of the Gulf of Suez nearly to the Bitter Lakes, in which grew abundant weeds and water-plants. There remained not one locust. The sudden and entire departure of locusts is as remarkable as their coming. "At the hour of prime," says one writer, "they began to depart, and at midday there was not one remaining.", "A wind from the south-west," says another, "which had brought them, so completely drove them forwards that not a vestige of them was to be seen two hours afterwards" (Morier, 'Second Journey,' p. 98).

10:12-20 God bids Moses stretch out his hand; locusts came at the call. An army might more easily have been resisted than this host of insects. Who then is able to stand before the great God? They covered the face of the earth, and ate up the fruit of it. Herbs grow for the service of man; yet when God pleases, insects shall plunder him, and eat the bread out of his mouth. Let our labour be, not for the habitation and meat thus exposed, but for those which endure to eternal life. Pharaoh employs Moses and Aaron to pray for him. There are those, who, in distress, seek the help of other people's prayers, but have no mind to pray for themselves. They show thereby that they have no true love to God, nor any delight in communion with him. Pharaoh desires only that this death might be taken away, not this sin. He wishes to get rid of the plague of locusts, not the plague of a hard heart, which was more dangerous. An east wind brought the locusts, a west wind carries them off. Whatever point the wind is in, it is fulfilling God's word, and turns by his counsel. The wind bloweth where it listeth, as to us; but not so as it respects God. It was also an argument for their repentance; for by this it appeared that God is ready to forgive, and swift to show mercy. If he does this upon the outward tokens of humiliation, what will he do if we are sincere! Oh that this goodness of God might lead us to repentance! Pharaoh returned to his resolution again, not to let the people go. Those who have often baffled their convictions, are justly given up to the lusts of their hearts.And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind,.... He turned the wind the contrary way it before blew; it was an east wind that brought the locusts, but now it was changed into a west wind, or "a wind of the sea" (u), of the Mediterranean sea; a wind which blew from thence, which lay to the west of Egypt, as the Red sea did to the east of it, to which the locusts were carried by the wind as follows: which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; and as it is usual for locusts to be brought by winds, so to be carried away with them, and to be let fall into seas, lakes, and pools, and there perish. So Pliny says (w) of locusts, that being taken up and carried with the wind in flocks or swarms, they fell into seas and lakes; and Jerom observes (x) in his time, that they had seen swarms of locusts cover the land of Judea, which upon the wind rising have been driven into the first and last seas; that is, into the Dead sea, and into the Mediterranean sea; see Joel 2:20. This sea here called the Red sea is the same which is now called the Arabian gulf; in the original text it is the sea of Suph; that is, the sea of flags or rushes; as the word is rendered, Exodus 2:3 from the great numbers of these growing on the banks of it, which are full of them, as Thevenot (y) says; or the "sea of weeds" (z), from the multitude of them in the bottom of it, or floating on it. So Columbus found in the Spanish West Indies, on the coast of Paria, a sea full of herbs, or weeds (a), which grew so thick, that they sometimes in a manner stopped the ships. Some render Yam Suph, the sea of bushes; and some late travellers (b) observe, that though, in the dreadful wilds along this lake, one sees neither tree, shrub, nor vegetable, except a kind of bramble, yet it is remarkable that they are found in the sea growing on its bottom, where we behold with astonishment whole groves of trees blossoming and bearing fruit, as if nature by these marine vegetables meant to compensate for the extreme sterility reigning in all the deserts of Arabia; and with this agrees the account that Pliny (c) gives of the Red sea, that in it olives and green fruit trees grow; yea, he says that that and all the Eastern ocean is full of woods; and adds, it is wonderful that in the Red sea woods live, especially the laurel, and the olive bearing berries. Hillerus (d) thinks this sea here has the name of the sea of Suph from a city of the same name near unto it. It is often called the Red sea in profane authors as here, not from the coral that grew in it, or the red sand at the bottom of it, or red mountains near it; though Thevenot (e) says, there are some mountains all over red on the sides of it; nor from the shade of those mountains upon it; nor from the appearance of it through the rays of the sun upon it; and much less from the natural colour of it; which, as Curtius (f) observes, does not differ from others; though a late traveller says (g), that"on several parts of this sea (the Red sea) we observed abundance of reddish spots made by a weed resembling "cargaco" (or Sargosso) rooted in the bottom, and floating in some places: upon strict examination, it proved to be that which we found the Ethiopians call Sufo (as here Suph), used up and down for dying their stuffs and clothes of a red colour,''but the Greeks called it so from Erythras or Erythrus, a king that reigned in those parts (h), whose name signifies red; and it is highly probable the same with Esau, who is called Edom, that is, red, from the red pottage he sold his birthright for to Jacob; and this sea washing his country, Idumea or Edom, was called the Red sea from thence; and here the locusts were cast by the wind, or "fixed" (i), as a tent is fixed, as the word signifies, and there continued, and never appeared more:

there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt; so that the removal of them was as great a miracle as the bringing them at first: this was done about the nineth day of the month Abib.

(u) "venture maris", Montanus, Drusius. (w) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 29. (x) Comment. in Joel, ii. 20. (y) Travels into the Levant, B. 2. ch. 33. p. 175. (z) "in mare algosum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "in mare carectosum", Tigurine version. (a) P. Martyr. de Angleria, Decad. 1. l. 6. Vide Decad. 3. 5. (b) Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. 2. p. 158. (c) Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 103. l. 13. c. 25. (d) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 128. (e) Ut supra. (Travels into the Levant, B. 2. ch. 33. p. 175.) (f) Hist. l. 8. sect. 9. (g) Hieronymo Lobo's Observations, &c. in Ray's Travels, vol. 2. p. 489. (h) Curtius ut supra. (Hist. l. 8. sect. 9.). Mela de Situ Orbis, l. 3. c. 8. Strabo, l. 16. p. 535, 536. (i) "et fixit eam", Montanus; so Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, Ainsworth.

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