1 And the LORD said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, so that I might show these signs of mine before him, 2 And that you may tell in the ears of your son and of your son's son what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them, so that you may know that I am the LORD."
3 And Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, "Thus says the LORD God of the Hebrews: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go so that they may serve me. 4 Or else, if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring the locusts into your border. 5 And they shall cover the face of the earth so that no one will be able to see the earth. And they shall eat the residue of that which has escaped, which remains to you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which grows for you out of the field. 6 And they shall fill your houses, the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians, which neither your fathers, nor your fathers' fathers have seen since the day that they were upon the earth to this day.'" And he turned himself and went out from Pharaoh. 7 And Pharaoh's servants said to him, "How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go so that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?" 8 And Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, "Go, serve the LORD your God, but who are those who shall go?" 9 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 we will go, for we must hold a feast to the LORD." 10 And he said to them, "The LORD be with you if I let you go with your little ones. Look to it, for evil is before you. 11 Not so. Go now you who are men and serve the LORD, for that you desired." And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.
12 And the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts so that they may come upon the land of Egypt and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail has left." 13 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. 14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and rested in all the borders of Egypt. They were very grievous. Before them there had never been [so many] locusts as this, neither after them will there be such. 15 For they covered the face of the whole earth so that the land was darkened. And they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. And there did not remain any green thing on the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt. 16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste and he said, "I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you. 17 Now therefore, forgive, I pray you, my sin only this once and entreat the LORD your God so that he may take away from me this death only." 18 And he went out from Pharaoh and entreated the LORD. 19 And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind which took away the locusts and cast them into the Red Sea. There did not remain one locust in all the borders of Egypt. 20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he would not let the children of Israel go.
21 And the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward heaven so that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt." 22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. 23 They did not see one another, neither did any rise from his place for three days, but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. 24 And Pharaoh called to Moses and said, "Go, serve the LORD. Only leave your flocks and your herds. Let your little ones also go with you." 25 And Moses said, "You must give us also sacrifices and burnt-offerings so that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. 26 Our cattle shall also go with us. Not a hoof shall be left behind. For of them we must take to serve the LORD our God, and we do not know with what we must serve the LORD until we get there." 27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go. 28 And Pharaoh said to him, "Depart from me, take heed to yourself, see my face no more. For in that day you see my face, you shall die." 29 And Moses said, "You have spoken well. I will see your face again no more."
[v.2] - God often makes certain things to be memorials so that they are not forgotten and that they bring to remembrance the glory of His name. Back in Exodus 3:15, God had told Moses, "This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations." Then, Psalm 135:13, says, "Your name, O LORD, endures forever, and your memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations." Deuteronomy, chapter 8, offers a stern warning to those who forget the things which are to be memorials for remembering God (e.g., His name, His law, His covenant, His wonders, etc.).
[v.14a] - Text in square brackets added for implied meaning. This verse is speaking of the immensity of the swarm of locusts which is described in verse 15 as covering the whole land.
[v.14b] - This verse is not a contradiction to the words of Joel. From John Gill's Exposition: "And what Moses here says is not contradicted in Joel 2:2 because his words may be understood of the Chaldean army, of which the locusts were an emblem; and besides, each may be restrained to the country in which they were, as that none ever before or since were seen in Egypt as these, though they might be in other countries; and so those in Joel's time were such as never before or since were seen in the land of Judea, though they might be in other places."
[v.16-17] - This is an example of false repentance. Here, Pharaoh is praying to have the present judgment relieved of him. False repentance seeks to flee the judgment, but true repentance seeks to flee the sin. Compare the false repentance of Cain (Genesis 4:13-14; he wishes to avoid the punishment) versus the true repentance of David (Psalm 38:3-4, 51:1-4; he acknowledges his sin and prays to have it taken away). Matthew Henry adds here that, "Counterfeit repentance commonly cheats men with general promises and is loth to covenant against particular sins... [Pharaoh] deprecates the plague of locusts, not the plague of a hard heart, which yet was much the more dangerous."
[v.18-19] - God answers the prayer of Moses and sends the locusts out of Egypt the way from which they came. They came in after a strong east wind, but they are removed and carried off to the Red Sea to the east of Egypt by a strong west wind. Concerning this west wind, John Calvin says, "God testified by a visible token that he was influenced by the prayers of His servant, and that on this account the plague was stayed." It wasn't upon Pharaoh's request, but rather by Moses' request after he had left Pharaoh, for God does not hear the prayers of the wicked. It says in the Proverbs, "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is his delight" (Proverbs 15:8), and, "The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous" (Proverbs 15:29), and also, "He who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination" (Proverbs 28:9).
[v.28-29] - There is no contradiction between what is said here in these two verses and with the events of the next chapter. Moses did not depart from Pharaoh at this time, but later (in the next chapter) after he delivers the final plague. There, it is said that Moses left Pharaoh in a great anger (Exodus 11:8).