Exodus 8:20-32 (The Plague of the Swarm)

Exodus 8:20-32
The Plague of the Swarm

My brother once told me, “Freedom is not congenital.” It has to be taught to each subsequent generation. And if we fail to do so, it will be lost. The American experiment is all but over because we have failed to wisely handle and transmit, untainted by corruption, the lessons of our own freedoms.

The same is true not only with freedom though, but with religion also. Nobody is born a Christian. The title does not transfer from parent to child automatically. Instead, we must tell the next generation of the works of the Lord again and again. The stories of the plagues upon Egypt and the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart are actually a part of this lesson.

In this self-willed, hardened individual, and the events which occur in relation to him, we can clearly see that the Lord calls, but the man must respond. The word is given, its rewards or consequences are provided, and a response is expected.

Unfortunately, this is not properly taught in many churches and people are left feeling secure in their eternal destiny when in fact, they haven’t followed through with the response part. This is seen, once again, in the life of Pharaoh to teach us this valuable lesson.

We are to tell the great works of the Lord to our children along with all that His work for us entails. Let us hide nothing in the process, but speak to them of both the rewards and consequences for failure to respond to the call.

Text Verse: “We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.” Psalm 78:4

Even more specific than this text verse, Deuteronomy tells us to keeps the Lord’s commands in our heart, to teach them diligently to our children, to talk of them when we sit in the house and when we walk by the way. We are to do so when we lie down, and when we again rise up.

They are to be so near to us that it is as if they are bound on our hands and placed between our eyes – metaphors meaning at all times and always to be remembered. He asks us to write the words of the Lord even on the doorposts of our house and on our gates – again, signifying even as we come in and go out from our homes we should have the word with us.

Are you this prepared with the word of the Lord? Is it set firmly in your heart and retained in your memory? If not, make it so from this day and forevermore. Cherish the wondrous words that give joy, hope, and which even lead to eternal life. Cherish this wondrous superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. I Will Set Apart the Land of Goshen (verses 20-24)

20 And the Lord said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh as he comes out to the water.

This is an early morning announcement, just as was seen in Exodus 7:15. Moses is instructed to “rise early.” It is an indication that Pharaoh is going to the water at sunrise, probably to worship the god Ra, the sun-god. It could then be that he did this regularly, or at set times of the year, like a solstice.

Either way Moses was to be there ahead of Pharaoh and he is instructed v’hityatsev liphne pharaoh – “and stand in the face of Pharaoh.”  The imagery is him standing between the water and Pharaoh, probably with the sun at his back, as if challenging the sun-god.

There, illumined by the splendor of the sun around him, Moses would make the same demand he has already made three times – “Let my people go.” And he again explains the reason for the demand…

20 (con’t) Then say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.

With just a minor change in the Hebrew, dropping an accusative, it is an exact repeat of Exodus 8:1. The Lord’s name, Yehovah, is declared; the people are identified as His people; and He desires their service of Him. It is the words of the God who has already proven Himself a competent adversary.



However, to this point, Pharaoh has had his heart increasingly hardened as the plagues have become ever more troublesome. With the passing of each plague, it appears Pharaoh believes the Lord’s arsenal is depleted and he continues his belligerent stance.

21 Or else, if you will not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies

Another plague is announced, in advance, if Israel is not released for the service of Yehovah. The actual identity of this plague cannot be determined with certainty. In Hebrew it is he’arov – “the swarm.” The words “of flies” are inserted by the translators.

Jewish commentators tie the word arov in with erev which means “mingled” or “mixed,” and they thus identify it as a variety of beasts, reptiles, insects, and the like.

However, the term he’arov is used in the singular throughout the plague and so it is one species, not many. The Greek translation of the Old Testament identifies it with the dog-fly. However, scholars have noted that the dog-fly isn’t a pest in houses and it doesn’t damage the land, both of which are noted in this plague.

However, there is a certain type of beetle which does fit the description by harming man, beast, and the land itself. If this is what is described here, it would certainly be another terrible plague, not only because of the great nuisance they made, but because the beetle was considered sacred in Egypt.

The beetle was tied to their god Kephri, the god of rebirth, the sunrise, and the scarab. Kephri was Ra’s aspect in the morning, and thus it is a fitting possibility as Moses has come to encounter Pharaoh in the morning. Therefore, like the frog, the people would refrain from killing one of their little deities and thus they would be overrun all the more.

They apparently have been known to suddenly appear upon the Nile in immense numbers and according to Kalisch they “inflict very painful bites with their jaws; gnaw and destroy clothes, household furniture, leather, and articles of every kind, and either consume or render unavailable all eatables” (Kalisch).

Another commentator notes that “They sometimes drive persons out of their houses; and they also devastate the fields” (Pulpit). It is a seemingly likely choice for the description of the swarm which was to come upon the land. Therefore, this is a challenge against the Egyptian gods Ra and Kephri.

21 (con’t) on you and your servants, on your people and into your houses.

In verse 21, four distinctions are made. It might seem curious that it is worded this way instead of saying that they would simply cover everyone and everything, but each distinction is calculated to give specific effect. He first notes “you” meaning Pharaoh.

It is Pharaoh who has denied Yehovah in the past, setting himself directly against Him. Therefore, he is specifically mentioned. He next notes “and your servants.” It is the noun form, ebed, of the verb abad, or “serve” which was used in the previous verse. If Israel may not serve the Lord, the servants of Pharaoh will suffer.

Next, he says “on your people.” It is the same word used in the previous verse concerning Israel – “My people.” If My people may not serve Me as their God, your people will suffer by one of your false-gods.”

And finally it notes “into your houses.” “If I, the great and awesome God, may not have the joy of open and personal fellowship with My people, you will suffer a private and most personal fellowship with your little biting gods.”

21 (con’t) The houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground on which they stand.

“The infestation will permeate the dwelling places of the Egyptians, biting and nauseating the people, turning their hearts away from the little devils that you so worship.” The swarm will be everywhere they go, and will cover the ground on which they stand. In this may be a subtle play on the creation account.

The word for “ground” here is adamah, which is essentially the same as adam, or “man.” Adam was shaped and formed from the adamah and he is intricately tied to it. Rising from it, he walks upon it, he eats what comes from it, and he returns to it. The very ground from which man came will be so covered with the swarm that he will loathe it.

But something new is specifically stated concerning this plague which has not been stated before…

22 And in that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there,

When the plague comes, in that day, the Lord promises to “set apart” the land. The term in Hebrew is v’hiphleti. It is the first of seven uses of the word palah in the Bible. It means to “set apart,” but the word also means “wonderfully” or “wondrously.”

Because of this, the Latin Vulgate says, “I will do a marvelous thing.” The Greek translation says, “I will render illustrious the land of Goshen.” It is the same word used by David when he said these most memorable of words –

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14

The part of land which is so distinguished is Goshen, the residence of the Hebrews. This area called Goshen is mentioned only ten times in the Bible, eight in Genesis and two in Exodus. It means, “drawing near” or approaching.”

In the Genesis sermons, it was apparent that the name was given to show the coming tribulation period on earth pictured by the plagues on Egypt. Now that time has come and the distinction between the Hebrews and the Egyptians is seen explicitly for the first time.

Thus, it pictures the Jews of the tribulation period who will take Jesus’ advice in Matthew 24 to flee into the wilderness as the time of the Great Tribulation is to draw near. The patterns are beautifully represented in the use of individual words and names which appear at perfectly timed intervals.

It is more than likely that Israel was spared from one or more of the other plagues, but the introduction of the name “Goshen,” and its being separated from the plagues to come, highlights the future events of the end-time tribulation period perfectly.

It should be remembered now that at the end of the previous plague, the magicians said “This is the finger of God.” They used a general term for God which could mean “gods” or any “god.” They didn’t give specific credit to Yehovah, or to the “God of the Hebrews.”

Because of this, the special distinction is now being made to show that this is not just a god, but Israel’s God. And more poignantly, He will next make an even more specific claim…

22 (con’t) in order that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the land.

Yehovah isn’t just a god “over there” somewhere, looking for the service of an individual group of people. Nor does He sit upon one parcel of land. Rather, He is Yehovah b’qerev ha’erets – “Yehovah in the midst of the earth.” He is the Lord of the whole earth.

Just as a king is said to rule and reside from the midst of his kingdom in order to conveniently rule and guide his people, Yehovah rules in the midst of the earth and in the midst of the people of the earth. Thus He is the true and only sovereign.

23 I will make a difference between My people and your people.

Here comes another special note to Pharaoh, v’shamti pedut. The word translated here as “difference” is used only four times in the Bible and it means, more properly to “redeem.” The Lord is making a distinction by redeeming. His people will be redeemed from the plague which will fall on all others.

The same word is used in Isaiah 50 to show that He is fully capable of speaking His word and then fulfilling it –

“Why, when I came, was there no man?
Why, when I called, was there none to answer?
Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea,
I make the rivers a wilderness;
Their fish stink because there is no water,
And die of thirst.
I clothe the heavens with blackness,
And I make sackcloth their covering.” Isaiah 50:2, 3

23 (con’t) Tomorrow this sign shall be.”’”

In order to fully demonstrate that this is the work of the Lord, not only has it been shown in advance that Israel would be exempted from the plague to come, but that it would come at a specific time. There will be little time to prepare as it will be on the morrow. The timing is given and it is called a “sign.”

The word for sign is owth. It is generally used to indicate a sign of something else – one thing pointing to another. Thus, this “sign” is given to show both the omniscience and the omnipotence of the Lord. He sits in the midst of the earth and controls what occurs there, but He also sits in the midst of time and controls when things will occur. Thus, the sign is given to demonstrate this.

24 And the Lord did so. Thick swarms of flies came into the house of Pharaoh, into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt. The land was corrupted because of the swarms of flies.

No record of the staff being stretched out like the commencement of the other plagues is mentioned. Rather, the word was spoken and the plague began because of it. Therefore, the magicians couldn’t claim that this was merely a magician’s trick.

Rather, by the mere word of an unseen power, the land would come alive with the swarm. And the swarm performed exactly as the word spoke. It covered everything, from the houses of Pharaoh and his servants, even to all of Egypt.

And it says that the land was “corrupted” because of the swarm. This word for “corrupted” more exactly means “destroyed.” The swarm, be it beetle, fly, or some other pest, devoured up everything in its path and brought calamity wherever it went.

The increasing severity of the plagues is seen most notably here. The first three plagues were certainly annoying, but they didn’t actually cause damage or injury to the people or to the land. But this one has caused harm to both. Step by step, the Lord is bringing His judgment upon Egypt and its gods while at the same time progressively hardening the already obstinate heart of Pharaoh.

Another plague is coming unless you pay heed
Our request is made and an answer is expected
The plague will come soon and it will come with speed
Is there a note of defiance in your voice that I have detected?

Pharaoh, you are continuing to bring this evil upon yourself
By not heeding the Lord who makes this request of you
Take your pride, fold it up, and put it on the shelf
Pharaoh, this is what I recommend you do

Now the plague which you assumed wouldn’t come is here
And it is frightful for you, *tee hee*. What? No, I did chuckle!
This is going to get worse for you I fear
Because of your raised fist; I can see the hair on every knuckle

II. Intercede for Me (verses 25-28)

25 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God in the land.”

This is the second time that Pharaoh has now conceded to the judgments he has faced. The first was during the plague of frogs when he said, “Entreat the Lord that He may take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the Lord.” (8:8)

After that, when he saw there was relief, he hardened his heart and changed his mind. Now he again tells them that they may go, but he only gives in to what they requested this time, not what they had originally asked for. The original request was that they could go into the wilderness of a three-day journey.

Overlooking that, Pharaoh grants them to “sacrifice to your God in the land.” As an indication of the already hard heart of Pharaoh, we can read those words once again – “sacrifice to your God.” He has granted that Yehovah is “a” god, but not “the” God. To him, He is only “Israel’s” God. Further, rather than identifying Him by name, he only identifies him by his “otherness.”

26 And Moses said, “It is not right to do so, for we would be sacrificing the abomination of the Egyptians to the Lord our God.

This explains what was previously left unexplained. In Chapter 5, a three-day journey into the wilderness was requested, but the explanation for this wasn’t given. Now it is being relayed to Pharaoh. The request wasn’t unfounded, but he simply didn’t care about the reason at the time and so he didn’t bother asking why.

Now though, the explanation is rendered, “for we would be sacrificing the abomination of the Egyptians.” It is improbable that the Israelites had not sacrificed to the Lord in small groups, like at weddings or funerals. Further, as shepherds, they would have been meat eaters.

However, this wouldn’t have been done in an open way, just as it isn’t done by them today. Rather, they would have prepared the animals in markets or shops. But what is being requested is on a wholly different level. An entire group of people would be offering public, open sacrifices to their God.

This would be right “in the face” of the Egyptians and a true affront to them. Today, with open media, the sacrifices of the Jews and other groups are coming under greater scrutiny once again. The world, especially the radical left, vegans, and animal-rights activists, and other nutjobs are working to get animal sacrifices stopped altogether.

These Hebrews were looking to offer animals considered sacred to the Egyptians in a public display of worship. It would in essence be equivalent to killing Egypt’s god for the pleasure of Israel’s God. It would be an all-out affront on the Egyptian society.

26 (con’t) If we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, then will they not stone us?

If they were to openly and publicly sacrifice a cow, which represented their god Isis, it would be beyond the pale. These and other animals were deified by the Egyptians and only catastrophe could result. Ellicott notes that later in Egyptian history, “On one occasion a Roman ambassador, who had accidentally killed a cat, was torn to pieces by the populace.”

The request by the Lord was intended to honor Him while maintaining peace within the greater Egyptian society. The risk of conflict was not without reasonable basis. And Moses indicates what the result would be in the words “will they not stone us?”

It is the very first mention of stoning in the Bible or in any recorded history. Whether it was an accepted form of punishment in Egypt or elsewhere at this time isn’t known, but it is an easy and obvious way to vent one’s anger.

And it is still a common outrage levied against the people of Israel 3500 years later. The muslims living in the land of Israel frequently stone the Jews, their vehicles, their trains, and their homes and offices. And the first mention of this practice is right here in Exodus 8:26.

27 We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God

Now with the explanation fully revealed for the original request, it is repeated as a statement of certainty for Pharaoh. What he ignored in the past is now made clear to him and it is spoken with implicit intent behind the words. “Now you know; now we will.”

27 (con’t) as He will command us.”

This indicates to Pharaoh that they had not been informed exactly what was entailed in the sacrifice and feast to be held. Rather, they had been instructed and they were simply attempting to be obedient to the calling.

It more poignantly shows the trouble they could be in with the Egyptians, because whatever mode and means of worship was requested wasn’t known, and so it could be more than just sacrificing animals that could upset them. This also is another anticipatory statement which will be later explained in Exodus –

“Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the Lord our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there.” Exodus 10:26

Like before, if Pharaoh asked now what they meant, he would understand the whole picture, but he doesn’t. It shows a continued arrogance and simplicity of mind that will persist in leading him to more hardening of the heart and more trouble to come.

28 So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away.

Pharaoh, again grants release, even with the condition of going into the wilderness, but it is to be inferred that he means still within the realm of Egyptian rule. Instead of agreeing to a three-day journey, he agrees with the unspecified “not…very far away.”

He has now, for the first time, shown what his true opposition to the request is. If they go, they may never come back. They could easily continue on towards Canaan and refuse to return. Rather than refuse the vague words of Pharaoh, Moses remains quiet. This is probably because he already knows the outcome of the matter.

Pharaoh will get relief and he will again harden his heart. Moses has already been made aware that the firstborn son is to be threatened in exchange for the release of Israel, and that has not yet occurred. Instead, Pharaoh has niggled over minutiae and Moses has remained silent. As the Geneva Bible evaluates this verse –

“So the wicked instruct God’s messengers how far they may go.” Geneva

It is like the increasing attacks of the government upon Christian pastors – “You can say this, but no more.” First, they silence them on politics in exchange for their obedience to the dollar. Next they silence them on moral issues in exchange for their freedom.

Soon, they will demand silence on the principle tenets of their faith in exchange for their lives. Each step brings the people of God closer to a final confrontation.

28 (con’t) Intercede for me.”

In verse 8, during the height of the plague of frogs, Pharaoh said, “Entreat the Lord that He may take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the Lord.”

Now, an abbreviated form of that long plea is given – hatiru baadi, “pray for me.” All of the rest of the words can be inserted by us. “Oh man, this swam is horrifying. I can’t stand it anymore and I will let you go sacrifice to the Lord. Let’s just get this plague ended. Intercede with the Lord for me.”

This plague is horrifying, yes it is true
Please make it end and I will do as you say
I will let Israel go sacrifice in the land, this I will do
Just get rid of this swarm, as to you I now pray

It shall be done if a three day’s journey is granted
The plague will end and all will again be good
What was destroyed can again be planted
Now that the agreement is made and things are understood

But Pharaoh, don’t make the same mistake you made before
Don’t harden your heart and from the Lord turn away
Surely worse things will come as He plagues you some more
If you are unwilling to fulfill the words that you did say

III. But Pharaoh Hardened His Heart (verses 29-32)

29 Then Moses said, “Indeed I am going out from you, and I will entreat the Lord, that the swarms of flies may depart tomorrow from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people.

In agreement to the conditions, while leaving the vague words of Pharaoh for the Israelites to “not go very far away” left alone, He promises that he will, in fact, entreat the Lord for the plague to end. This time, rather than asking Pharaoh when the plague should end, he simply follows with the same time-frame as the ending of the plague of frogs, which is “tomorrow.”

The relief would come, it would be soon, and it would be complete. The swarm would depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. However, the granting is conditioned upon allowing the worshipping of Yehovah through sacrifice by His servants and by His people.

The contrast is evident, though unstated at this time. The distinction is made between the people of God and the people who are not of God. So it will be at the rapture of the church, and so it will be in the end times, during the tribulation. There are spiritual separations which exist and the boundaries between them are known to, and closely watched by the Lord.

29 (con’t) But let Pharaoh not deal deceitfully anymore in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”

In the closing words of the conversation, Moses rebukes Pharaoh for his conduct which was noted in verses 8-15. Pharaoh agreed to let Israel go, but in his agreement, he dealt deceitfully. The word used here is hathal and it means properly, “to mock.”

His change of heart is equated with mockingly deceiving the Lord, and it is an evident trait in anyone who fears the true God only as long as His effects are felt in a negative way. There is no true love or caring for Him or His people.

Rather, there is a purposeful mocking attitude deep in the heart which comes forth like blooming flowers in the spring. They are evident, they are showy, and they fade just as quickly at the next time of deprivation or hardship arises.

In order to keep him from such an attitude, Moses makes the effort to remind him of his past transgression in hopes of it not turning into another one. As Ellicott notes –

“God’s servants must rebuke even kings when they openly break the moral law.” Ellicott

How few are willing to do this, but how important it is, especially in this world where the spirit of Pharaoh is growing almost exponentially as the days pass!

30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and entreated the Lord.

In accord with the request of Pharaoh, and even before the people have assembled to depart for their sacrifice in the wilderness Moses upholds his part of the bargain. This takes us right back to verses 12 & 13 where the same basic thing happened.

Although we could throw the old adage at Moses, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” he is willing to follow the preset plan of the Lord so that His signs and wonders might be multiplied. The Lord’s representative thus petitions Him on behalf of Pharaoh.

31 And the Lord did according to the word of Moses; He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained.

Again as before, the Lord heard Moses and defended both the integrity of His own name, and that of Moses before Pharaoh. For a second time, the petition comes less for mercy on Pharaoh than it is made for the glory of the Lord to be revealed and the honor of the Lord to be maintained.

The removal of the plague is as remarkable as the initiation of it. The plague was everywhere, it was unstoppable by any known means, and yet it was ended in all places, completely, and at a specified time. Another victory over more false gods of Egypt!

Again as before, the surpassing greatness of the Lord is seen in the ending of the terrible plague upon Pharaoh and in the land of Pharaoh. The swarms departed exactly as promised. When the word is spoken, the word never fails. But the same is not true with the word of man.

It is a rare trait that a man can be known for the truth of the words he utters. Normally, something more certain than the breath out of one’s mouth is required to ensure that the words will be followed up with deeds. And the reason is that all the way through human history, men have made promises and those promises have been broken.

From the desperate gambler looking to pay off his debts and never gamble again, to the great Pharaoh in Egypt who begged for the removal of the plagues, promising relief to his enslaved Hebrews, the words prove false and the actions of the heart are recorded in God’s scroll of memory for future judgment…

*32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also; neither would he let the people go.

The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is so important that it has been mentioned continuously and meticulously by the Lord. It isn’t an arbitrary side issue, but it is at the very core of biblical doctrine. We are being taught about the nature of God in relation to man, and the nature of man in the presence of God.

And yet, we as Christians will follow misguided presuppositions about what is occurring rather than pay heed to what the Lord is trying to tell us. The Lord is directing us with His actions towards us, but He is also leaving the final decision of how we relate to Him, and how we perceive Him, completely up to us.

Because of this, when we stand before Him, we will only have ourselves to blame in how we responded to Him and how we instructed others about His nature. The goodness of God cannot be on trial here because Pharaoh was given advanced warning of what would come about.

He was given time to reflect on that bad decision, and then he was granted the grace of being relieved of what he had brought upon himself. The Lord could have allowed the plague to go on forever, made the plague worse, or even added in another plague on top of this one. Instead, He ended it.

And yet, once again, the Bible tells us that “Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also.” It was a volitional act of his free will. And it is recorded for us to read and to assimilate into our own minds. He has given us His word, He has told us what He expects, and He has shown the consequences of our disobedient hearts.

We can’t blame God when we get syphilis or AIDS. He has told us how to conduct our lives from a moral standpoint. We can’t blame God when a loved one dies, when He has already shown us that all are destined to die and that He alone is the Decider of when that will occur.

We cannot say five minutes after the rapture, “It’s not fair! I wasn’t ready!” And we cannot stand before him at the judgment and say, the preacher told me that I was predestined to salvation and so I assumed that was true. Instead, we have to call to Him for healing, and we have to actively participate in His plan of salvation.

The span of our lives is unknown except to the One who gave us that life. When the final moment comes for you, will He say, “This one hardened his heart and would not yield to my call.” Or will He be pleased with how you responded to His goodness in creation, in family, in blessings, and in the Gift of His Son, Jesus?

It is up to you. Choose wisely, and be sure to choose today. The Bible promises us no tomorrows. Let me tell you what you need to know so that you will stand approved when He comes for you…

Closing Verse: “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

Next Week: Exodus 9:1-12 (The Plagues of Livestock and Boils)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Swarming Plague

And the Lord said to Moses
“Rise early in the morning
And stand before Pharaoh as he comes out to the water
There you shall give him my warning

Then say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord plainly
“Let My people go, that they may serve Me

Or else, if you will not let My people go, behold
I will send swarms of flies on you
And your servants, on your people as you are told
And into your houses the swam will go too

The houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies
And also the ground on which they stand; Pay heed! Be wise!

And in that day I will set apart
The land of Goshen, in which My people dwell
That no swarms of flies shall be there
Pay attention to the words which I do now tell

In order that you may know and understand
That I am the Lord in the midst of the land

I will make a difference between
My people and your people
Tomorrow this sign shall be seen

And the Lord did so
Thick swarms of flies came into the house of Pharaoh
Into his servants’ houses, they did go
And into all the land of Egypt, what an amazing show!

The land was corrupted because of the swarms of flies
The immensity of what was coming Pharaoh didn’t realize

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, we understand
And said, “Go, sacrifice to your God in the land.”

And Moses said, “It is not right to do so
For we would be sacrificing the abomination
Of the Egyptians to the Lord our God, as you know
We cannot sacrifice inside Egypt the nation

If we sacrifice the abomination
Of the Egyptians before their eyes
Then will they not stone us?
Even until every Hebrew dies

We will go three days’ journey, thus
Into the wilderness and sacrifice
To the Lord our God as He will command us
The removal of the plague demands this price

So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go
That you may sacrifice to the Lord your God
In the wilderness, even so
Only you shall not go very far away as you trod

Intercede for me
This plague is horrifying as you can see

Then Moses said, “Indeed I am going out from you, here I go!
And I will entreat the Lord
That the swarms of flies may depart tomorrow from Pharaoh
From his servants, and from his people, according to the word

But let Pharaoh not deal deceitfully anymore, making it twice
In not letting the people go, and to the Lord make sacrifice

So Moses went out from Pharaoh and entreated the Lord
And the Lord did according to Moses’ spoken word
He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh
From his servants, and from his people, not one remained
But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also
Neither would he let the people go, but instead them he detained

A hard heart inside a man is a fearful thing
It will lead him down a path towards great loss
In the end only immense sorrow it will bring
Especially when that heart is hard towards Jesus’ cross

God gives us every warning in advance to beware
He provides guidance for the path, as a lamp so bright
If we heed His word, reading it daily, we will find there
Life and healing and the most radiant light

It is given as a guide and a rule for our life
To lead us across the Jordan to the heavenly shore
Read it now, accept its words and end all your strife
Come to Jesus and be reconciled to God forevermore

He is reaching out nail-scarred hands, offering peace
Receive the gift, bow the knee, and let the enmity cease

Together with the saints of God we shall our mighty Lord praise
There in His majestic presence for innumerable, eternal days

Hallelujah and Amen…

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