The 9th Plague - Darkness

Exodus 10:21-27


Ex. 10:21, And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.

I.   Like the 3rd and 6th plague, there is no warning given to Pharaoh or his people.










Ex. 7:10

Rod Into A Serpent



Ex. 7:17

Water Becomes Blood



Ex. 8:2




Ex. 8:16, 17




Ex. 8:21




Ex. 9:2, 3

Murrian (Boils)



Ex. 9:22-25

Pestilence (hail, thunder, fire)



Ex. 10:4




Ex. 10:21-23




Ex. 11:9

Death of Firstborn



II.   It is interesting to note that Moses raises his hand.

A.     In every other example of Moses or Aaron performing a miracle, they raise their rods.

1.       This is to show that the miracle is not made possible by the rod.

2.       This battle is not between the rods of Moses and Aaron and the magicians of Egypt.

3.       It is between God and Satan.

B.     The rod of God is only a symbol of the miracle working power of God.

1.       Moses is not being sacrilegious by raising his hand.

2.       Later, Exodus 17:12, Moses raises his hands to prolong the victory Israel has over their enemies as they battle.

3.       Hur and Aaron hold his hands up when they get tired.

4.       This is not saying that the victorious power is in the hands, but it is in the God of the hands.


III.   God doesn’t want anybody worshipping the rod of God.

A.     Numbers 21:8, when Moses made the serpent of brass, which represents Christ the redeemer, and put it on a pole so anybody who looked at it would be healed of their snake bite it was good.

1.       But Israel kept the brass serpent and began to worship it.

2.       In II Kings 18:4, Hezekiah, a good king of Israel, began to reign.

3.       One of the first things he did was to brake the brass serpent into pieces calling it Nehushtan (a piece of brass) because Israel was worshipping the symbol of Christ instead of worshipping Christ Himself.


Verse 22, And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:


Verse 23, 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.


I.   Ps. 105:28 declares, “He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled not against his word.”

A.     The darkness is listed as the 1st of the plagues even though it is the 9th plague.

1.       Probably because the physical darkness is a symbol of spiritual darkness which God put on Egypt.

2.       God hardened the heart of Pharaoh and all his people, therefore they were in spiritual darkness which brought about the natural darkness.

B.     Who is the “they” of this verse?

1.       The “they” could refer to the plagues, and the instruments God used in the plagues of Egypt.

a.       When God called the flies, they were obedient, and they came.

b.       When God called the lice, they were obedient, and they came.

c.       When God called any insect, or any other “natural” substance, such as rain, hail, fire, so forth, they were obedient and they came.

2.       The “they” could also refer to the rebellious Egyptians.

a.       When God hardened the heart of Pharaoh, Pharaoh didn’t rebel against being hardened.

b.       See Exodus 10:7 – Neither Pharaoh, nor his servants, submitted themselves to God even when they knew the judgment of God was coming.  [1]


II.   Darkness - Shows God’s power over the Egyptian Chief God - the Sun God - “Ra.”

A.     Darkness that is felt - A thick darkness.

1.       A darkness that light cannot penetrate.

a.       Genesis 1:2 – When God first created the worlds, there was darkness on the face of the deep.

b.       Genesis 1:3 – God created light and saw that it was good.

2.       The above scriptures teach that light “chased the darkness away.”

B.     Physical darkness given because of spiritual darkness.

1.       Matt. 27:45 – Darkness when Christ is crucified. “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.”

2.       II Cor. 11:14 - Satan and his ministers appear as “light.”  “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

3.       II Cor. 4:4 - Satan has blinded minds. "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

4.       Ex. 10:15 - The locust “darken” the land, but not like this!! “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.”

5.       Gen. 19:11 - The Sodomites were blinded by the angels of God. “And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.”

6.       II Peter 2:17 - The wicked are reserved to the mist of darkness forever.  This means that hell is dark. “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.”

7.       Jude 6 - Rebellious angels reserved under darkness until the judgment of the great day.  “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”

C.     None of the Egyptians saw any of the other Egyptians even though they may have been in the same room as they.

1.       Many people believe in hell they will have a lot of company.

2.       Isaiah 5:14 – “Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.”

3.       Even though there are a lot of people in hell, nobody will be company to anybody else.

4.       They will all be suffering their own very private, personal hell.

5.       They will all be remembering their time on this earth, and how they wasted their lives, seeking things that are now destroyed, yet they remain alive and remembering.

D.     None of the Egyptians left their place.

1.       I don’t know what happened to the Egyptians or the Israelites that were in the field.

2.       It is likely that the darkness came very early in the morning, like the other plagues, therefore the majority of people hadn’t yet begun the day.

3.       If there were those that were in the field, they would have a very hard time getting home.

4.       Wickedness is often done at night, but there was no wickedness done in this darkness.

E.      The Egyptians probably had no light in their dwellings like the Israelites did.

1.       This thick darkness was so concentrated that no light would penetrate it.

2.       They didn’t see each other.

3.       They could hear each other talk, but they couldn’t see anything at all, just total darkness.

4.       They didn’t leave their place.

F.      Three days - 6 “nights” long - as the daylight would also be dark.

1.       Matt. 27:45 - The darkness was 3 hours long during the crucifixion.

2.       This darkness in the middle of the day would leave people in much fear and dread.

3.       It is very important to note that nobody was saved during the three hours of darkness.

a.       Signs and wonders will not save people.

b.       The preaching of the gospel, which was done on the Day of Pentecost, is what it takes to save souls.

G.     The result:

1.       From the viewpoint of us who are believers.

a.       A being made aware of only yourself.

b.       Would think about nobody else.  When someone spoke to you, your mind would wander to what they are saying, but when silence prevailed once again, the mind would go back to personal things.

c.       Would not be aware of your own body since it wouldn’t be seen.  There would be no physical hindrance.  A person would be as close to reality as he could be.

d.       The Holy Spirit would be able to work with the mind to bring, realization of wickedness, conviction of sin, and repentance.

e.       The individual would come face to face with personal guilt and God’s judgment and mercy toward sinners.

f.        One thing that Satan has done in this world is give people a lot of things to do so they don’t have time to think of their eternal destruction, or anything eternal. We must make time to think of eternal things.

2.       From the viewpoint of those whose heart is hardened.

a.       See Ex. 10:27 and Part F. Rev 16:10,11.

b.       Exodus 10:27 – “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.”

c.       Rev. 16:10,11 – “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11  And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”

3.       It is very important to understand that no amount of external, physical persuasion or human reasoning will bring a person to Christ.

a.       The only way any sinner will turn to God is through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

b.       Two people can be in the exact same place, see the exact same situation, and only one of them be saved.

c.       The thieves who were crucified with Christ is a prime example of this truth.


III.   Compare the destruction of Egypt with the destruction of Pagan Babylon.  This also involves the setting free of Israel from Egypt and the setting free of God’s people from this world.

A.     Egypt continually rebels against God even though they know God is bringing plagues upon their nation.  This is exactly the same thing every lost person does, the same thing Pagan Babylon will do in the end of this world.

1.       Rev. 16:2 – The first vial puts a grievous sore upon all those that have received the mark of the beast – comparable to God marking Egypt because they worship false gods, and torment the people of God.

2.       Rev. 16:3 – The second vial turns water into blood, but the people do not repent of their wickedness.

3.       Rev. 16:4-7 – The third vial turns the source of water into blood, but people do not repent.

4.       Rev. 16:8,9 – The fourth vial puts pressure on the person of people, but they do not repent, blaspheming God instead.

5.       Rev. 16:10-11 – The fifth vial begins the destruction of the power and authority of those in control.  They do not repent, but blaspheme God instead.

6.       Rev. 16:12-16 – The sixth vial prepares the way for the end, yet men do not repent.  They watch the end time events unfold, but do not repent, nor turn to God.

7.       Rev. 16:17-21 – The seventh vial.

a.       Verse 17 – The angel declares “It is done.”

b.       Verse 18-20 – There is a great earthquake, worse than has ever been – like the locust of Exodus 9:18.

c.       The earthquake is so great that great cities are demolished, and every mountain is removed, and the islands are moved out of their places.

d.       Verse 21 – 125 pound hailstones fall, but the people do not repent.

8.       Exodus 9:13-16 – God tells Moses to tell Egypt that he is going to bring the remaining plagues upon the heart of Pharaoh, his servants, and the people of Egypt.  [2]

B.     God is going to so move on Egypt that they will know exactly who he is, yet they will continue to fight him.  God did exactly the same thing to Babylon.  She knows exactly who God is, that their religion is false, yet they fight God to their own destruction and eternal death.

1.       Rev. 17 - A description of the great whore and her rising to power.

2.       Rev. 18 - The destruction of Pagan Babylon (18:23 - no light of the candle).

a.       Revelation 18:23 – And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”

1)      It must be noted that the candle still has a light, (just like Christ is still the light of the world, and save people still have the light of God within them) but that light will not shine through the spiritual darkness in Satan’s kingdom.

2)      The hardness of hearts has gradually increased over time until the darkness is complete.

3)      There is no more working of the Holy Spirit in them at all.

4)      They are completely hardened and ready for the judgment of God and eternal destruction.

b.       Proverbs 20:27 – The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”

c.       Rev. 1:20 – “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”

d.       Acts 9:4 – “And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”  When Paul persecuted the Christians in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, he was actually persecuting Christ himself.

3.       When Pagan Babylon is completely destroyed there are two things to notice.

a.       There is no life left at all, not of the saved, nor of the lost.

b.       Pagan Babylon has done all they can do to destroy the testimony of God to them, and in destroying God’s people she has destroyed herself.

c.       Rev. 18:24 states, “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”

d.       Egypt will do exactly the same thing Pagan Babylon will do; kill all the believers they can in their rebellion against God and his power.

C.     Egypt is destroyed while God blesses Israel, compared to the destruction of this world while God blesses his people.

1.       Notice the similarities between Egypt and Pagan Babylon and the blessings upon God’s people.

a.       Egypt and Israel dwell together just like God’s people and Babylon dwell together.

b.       Egypt and Babylon must be destroyed before God blesses his people with eternal blessings.

c.       God patiently brings plague after plague upon Egypt, just like he continually brings plague after plague upon the earth.

d.       Matthew 24:6,7 states “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”

e.       God has hardened the heart of both Egypt and Babylon, and will use them for his eternal glory.

f.        God brings his people to a better country.  Israel goes to a prepared land – the land of Canaan.  We will go to a prepared land – the new heaven and the new earth.

2.       The cursing upon the world and the blessings upon God’s people continue in the book of Revelation.

a.       Rev. 19 - Marriage of the Lamb.  This is the blessing of God upon his people after Babylon is destroyed.

b.       Rev. 20 - 1,000 year reign.  Israel is headed toward Canaan so they can worship God as he commands them.  We are headed for eternity without sin so we can worship God like he commands us.

c.       Rev. 21 - New Jerusalem.  There is a place of eternal rest and continuing in perfect safety and satisfaction with no fear of ever being displaced.

d.       Rev. 22 - Eternity and warnings and pleadings.  Revelation is written in time, therefore the pleadings are there so unbelievers will have opportunity to realize their great wickedness before God, repent of their sins, and trust Christ for the eternal salvation he gives.

D.     The Israelites had light in their dwellings.

1.       The Egyptians couldn’t see the light in the dwellings of the Israelites.

a.       The light would not penetrate the darkness.

b.       Lost people are blind to the fellowship of God’s children especially the fellowship in his church.

2.       The eternal light was with them.

3.       They had to be “in their dwellings” – we’ll have God’s blessings when we’re where we ought to be: in his kind of church.

4.       Rev. 1:12-16 – Christ dwells in the midst of his church.

a.       He is a protector of his church.

b.       He is a judge of all those that rebel against him.

5.       Satan has done all he can do to destroy the local churches.

a.       Satan has caused men to change the meaning of church from local to universal (both visible and invisible).

b.       It is amazing his trick has worked.

c.       Did Satan ever try to change the meaning of nation from local to universal (either visible, or invisible)?

d.       God called Abraham, giving him a promise that he could make of his seed a great nation.  The nation of Israel has always been local, never universal.

e.       God called out his apostles, making of them a local church, giving her his authority, power and presence.  That church has always been local, meeting in many different places.  That church will one day be gathered together in one assembly, but they will still be local, and visible and assembled in that day.  Now there are many different local assemblies of churches worshipping God.

6.       There was darkness outside the dwellings in Goshen.

a.       There is darkness in this present world that all believers live in.

b.       John 8:12 – There is light in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ because Jesus is the light of the world.

c.       Matthew 5:15 states, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”

d.       Revelation 1:20 declares, “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”

e.       Therefore we know that we should place the candle of our salvation in the church Jesus organized.

7.       Compare the light in the world with the light in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

a.       The Egyptians could not see one another, therefore their fellowship was severely limited.

b.       The fellowship they had was only by the sounds they could make.

c.       The Israelites could have full fellowship because they could interact with each other in many different ways.

d.       They could see one another, touch one another, move around with one another, eat together (and see what they were eating).

e.       They could read their Bibles together (if they had any written word).

f.        At least, they could speak to one another about the grace of God, and see the expression on faces.

8.       People in this world who have never seen the light don’t know what they are missing.

a.       They think they have it all because they are comparing what they have with their past knowledge of what they and others have had.

b.       They have no idea of the life of the saved person in one of the Lord’s churches, or the blessings of Christian fellowship.

9.       It is likely the animals of the Israelites stayed in their barns or wherever the Israelites kept them.

a.       God would take care of the animals, both of the Israelites and the Egyptians.

b.       I don’t know if the Israelites fed their animals enough to last three days or not, but it should be remembered that while the animals might not have eaten anything for three days, the Egyptians might not have eaten very much for the same three days.

c.       They might have had some food they had already prepared when the darkness came, but I don’t suspect there would be much food prepared beforehand, especially since the Egyptians didn’t know the darkness was coming.

10.   God is preparing Israel to leave by showing them there is no hope for Egypt.

a.       It is too bad Israel forgot what God was showing them.

b.       It is too bad we forget the lessons God gives us.  [3]


Verse 24, And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.

I.   It is interesting that Pharaoh knew who caused the darkness although Moses didn’t tell him beforehand.

A.     It is likely Pharaoh called for Moses when the “lights came back on.”

1.       Pharaoh could have given the order to some of his servants to get Moses when it was still dark, but they would have had a lot of trouble finding him because they could not see where to go, or who was present.

2.       It would be like Pharaoh to give such an order.

3.       There is no evidence when Pharaoh spoke to Moses in this verse.

B.     Pharaoh doesn’t ask Moses if God caused the darkness.

1.       Pharaoh didn’t have to ask because he knew.

2.       Even though Pharaoh knew God caused this thick darkness, he still didn’t repent of his sins, nor did he turn to God, nor did he accept God’s demand to let Israel go, but continued to offer compromises.

C.     Pharaoh doesn’t want to believe God has any power over him.

1.       Sinners don’t want to believe God has any power over them.

2.       They try to live like nothing bothers them at all.

3.       But at the first sign of calamity, they call upon God.

4.       The truth is that they know God is all powerful, but they don’t want to admit their own sinfulness.

5.       They had rather keep on fooling themselves and go to hell, than admit their wickedness, be saved and go to heaven.


II.   Verse 24 - The 5th compromise offer.

A.     It’s common for sinners to bargain with God.

1.       The land of Egypt is right down to the end of their nation.

2.       Like sinners, so come right down to the end of their lives, they often continue to offer compromises to God for their eternal souls.

3.       God will never accept any compromise, but will always give mercy when sinners come just as they are.

B.     Everybody can go but the flocks.

1.       Perhaps in hope of the Israelites returning for them.

2.       Satan still tries to keep us from God’s service by material wealth.

C.     It is likely Pharaoh wants Moses to think he is being very generous by letting the children go this time.

1.       Moses will not fall for that ploy.

2.       Pharaoh isn’t being generous, namely because whether Israel goes or not is not in his hands.

3.       The destiny of Israel is in the hands of the Lord, and Israel is leaving Egypt.

D.     Previous compromises offered to Israel.





Ex. 8:25

During the fourth plague (swarms {of flies}) Pharaoh offers to let Israel sacrifice in the land.


Ex. 8:28

During the fourth plague (swarms {of flies}) Pharaoh offers to let Israel sacrifice go into the wilderness to sacrifice, but they cannot go very far away.


Ex. 9:28

During the seventh plague (hail and fire), Pharaoh offers to let Israel go, but (verse 30) Moses knows he doesn’t mean it.


Ex. 10:7-11

Before the eighth plague (locust), Pharaoh offers (under advisement from his counselors) to let the men of Israel go into the wilderness to serve God.


Ex. 10:24

Probably after the ninth plague (darkness), Pharaoh offers to let all Israel go into the wilderness, but they cannot take their herds and flocks.

E.      Israel will be unable to properly worship God without their herds and flocks.

1.       They need these herds and flocks in order to offer sacrifices to God.

2.       The sacrifices are a type of Christ.

3.       Pharaoh is releasing Israel from Egypt, but retaining “Christ.”


III.   Any nation without true worship will not long remain a strong nation.

A.     Pharaoh knows religion is one thing that will hold a nation together, or pull them apart.

B.     If Israel leaves their “God” in Egypt, Pharaoh knows they will wander in the wilderness for a while, and then return to Egypt.

1.       People might think they will be okay without God, but this isn’t so.

2.       When God is left out of our lives, our lives disintegrate.


Verse 25, And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.

I.   Moses said, “Thou must give us”

A.     God is the supreme ruler of the earth, which includes Israel and Egypt.

1.       God still respects the authority of Pharaoh, which he received from God.

2.       God could have gone “over the head” of Pharaoh, but God doesn’t want us to go “over the heads” of the authorities he has placed over this world.

B.     God expects us to obey the laws of the land.

1.       Moses refuses to disobey the laws of the land, even when those laws go contrary to God’s commandments.

2.       Moses deals with the government until the government agrees to God’s laws.

3.       If the government refuses to agree to God’s laws, God will “take care” of that government.


Verse 26, Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the LORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.

I.   Verse 25,26 - The offer refused.

A.     May we always refuse Satan’s compromises.

B.     There are many great blessings awaiting us if we are faithful to god.


II.   Moses didn’t know what they would need.

A.     Therefore he gave it all to the Lord.

B.     We should surrender all we have to God, for we don’t know what He will require from us.

C.     The thing we hold for ourselves may be what He requires.


Verse 27, But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.

I.   Many people don’t like this verse, and try to change what it says to suit their own individual taste and beliefs.

A.     The truth is correctly stated in this verse.

B.     Anything else is not the truth.

C.     God hardened the heart of Pharaoh.


Verse 28,  And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.

I.   The empty (vain) threat of a vain (empty) man.

A.     Pharaoh says he will kill Moses the next time he sees him.

1.       It won’t turn out this way.

2.       They don’t see each other face to face again.

3.       They see each other from a distance, but not up close.

B.     Pharaoh threatens the life of Moses and Aaron.

1.       10:11 - At the 8th plague, they were driven from Pharaoh’s presence.

2.       At the 9th plague, they were threatened with their life.

3.       At the 10th plague the first born of Egypt lost their lives.

C.     Pharaoh’s hard heart caused him to forget that Moses had been God’s instrument in bringing and topping the plagues.

D.     How could Pharaoh kill such a man??

1.       How can Pharaoh expect to kill Moses when he can’t even stop the miracles?

2.       He can’t stop Moses from obeying God so God will send the plagues, so how could kill him?


II.   Pharaoh will die the next time they see each other.

A.     This will be at the Red Sea.

B.     The threats of a man are not to be concerned with.

1.       He may be in a position of power, but that doesn’t mean he will be able to fulfill his threats.

2.       Only God can predetermine his actions!


Verse 29, And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.

I.   Moses knows what Pharaoh doesn’t.

A.     Moses gets his information from God, while Pharaoh gets his information from within himself.

B.     The Bible doesn’t say that God told Moses there would be only 10 plagues.

1.       Whether the Bible says it or not, it does indicate Moses knew there would be only one more plague.

2.       All of the conversations between God and Moses are probably not recorded.

3.       We do have the information God wants us to have.

C.     Moses did not see Pharaoh again - 11:31,32.

1.       I believe the message was delivered by messenger.

2.       Pharaoh didn’t call for Moses.


II.   Moses got his information from God.

A.     See Exodus chapter 11.

B.     Chapter 11 and the latter part of chapter 10 are intermingled

C.     For a fuller explanation see my comments on chapter 11.  [4]

[1] Preached to here 11/07/01

[2] Preached to here 11/14/01

[3] Preached to here 11/21/01

[4] Preached to here 11/28/01 IBC Wednesday Evening