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molition of their flax was attended with great inconvenience, and must have proved a heavy loss so that this judgment particularly affected this people above all other nations and their priests more particularly suffered.
The History illustrated from the Climate,
The ruin of their barley was equally fatal, both in respect to their trade (for Egypt seems very early to have been the granary of the world) and to their private advantage. They had few vines'in Egypt: but instead of the juice of the grape, they made a liquor called by Herodotus---oivos xgilios, barley wine; undoubtedly a kind of beer : which was particularly serviceable during the time that the Nile was turbid, and not so fit to be drunken. These advantages were lost to them now through the devastation made by the rain, hail, and fire and they could not but have been severely felt. As this calamity came upon them towards the time of barley harvest,
I They are however mentioned in Psalm lxxviii. v. 47. He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycamore trees with frost.
* Herod. 1. 2. c. 77. p. 139.
we may form a judgment of the month, when it happened. We are told by modern travellers, that corn in Egypt is fit for mowing or reaping in March, and April: that is, the barley comes to maturity first, and is cut down in the former month; and the wheat in the latter. When Le Bruyn was in that country, he observed the whole to be over at Cairo upon the 19th of April. This agrees with the account given by the sacred writer, who says, that the barley was in the ear; though, as is intimated, not quite fit to be mowed: but the wheat and the rye were not grown up. Exod. ix. 32. This judgment therefore must have happened about the beginning of March, before the precise time of harvest: so early as to leave room for the three succeeding plagues to take place, These were over by the 15th of Abib, which answers to the first of April; at which time the Israelites went forth from the land of Egypt. The history by these means is wonderfully authenticated: and the divine purpose in each operation more plainly discovered.
Egmont and Hayman, vol. 2. p. 223.
Wheat ripens in March, and harvest is over in April. Hasselquist, p. 453.
? Levant, p. 134. b.
THE EIGHTH PLAGUE.
Exod. Ch. x. Ver. 3. And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long
wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me,
V. 4. Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to-morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coasts:
V. 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 remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field---&c. &c.
V. 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.
V. 14. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.
V. 15. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.
V. 16. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you.
V. 17. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the Lord your God, &c. &c.
V. 19. And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red-sea, &c.
In this instance, as well as in others which preceded, the time of the approaching cala
mity was precisely foretold by God's servants, which plainly pointed out the hand from whence the judgment proceeded. To some however it may appear strange, that after such a display of terror, Exod. ch. ix. ver. 23, 24. God should introduce the locust, or grasshopper, seemingly a poor instrument of divine vengeance: whose effects, after such a general devastation, could not have been very material, however they may be represented. But the case was far otherwise. A swarm of locusts is a very fearful evil, though not outwardly accompanied with any alarming appearance and the consequences of their introduction were very fatal to the Egyptians.
We may perceive, that it was not the purpose of God to complete every punishment at once but to carry on these judgments in a series, and by degrees to cut off all hopes, and every resource, upon which the Egyptians depended. By the hail and thunder, and fire mingled with rain, both the flax and barley were entirely ruined: and their pastures must have been greatly injured. But the wheat,
They sowed in October: and the time of the different grain coming to maturity mentioned Exodus, ch. ix. v. 31, and 32. agrees with the account in Pliny. In Ægypto hor