Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.” Exodus 10:21.
The people of Egypt were in despair. The scourges which had already fallen upon them seemed almost beyond endurance, and they were filled with fears for the future. The people had worshipped Pharaoh as being a representative of their god and carrying out his purposes. But notwithstanding, many were convinced that he was opposing his will to a superior Power who held all nations under His control. Suddenly a darkness settled over the land, so thick and black that it seemed a darkness which could be felt. Not only were the people deprived of light, but the atmosphere was very oppressive, so that breathing was difficult…. But all the children of Israel had light and a pure atmosphere in their dwellings….
The Hebrew slaves were continually favored of God and were becoming confident that they would be delivered. The taskmasters dared not exercise their cruelty as heretofore, fearing lest the vast Hebrew host would rise up and be revenged for the abuse they had already suffered.
This terrible darkness lasted three days, and during this time the busy activities of life could not be carried on. This was God’s plan. He would give them time for reflection and repentance before bringing upon them the last and most dreadful scourge, the death of the firstborn. He would remove everything which would divert their attention and give them time for meditation, thus giving new evidence of His compassion and unwillingness to destroy.
At the end of the three days of darkness, Pharaoh sent for 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.” The answer was, “Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God. 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.”
The king was stern and determined. “Get thee from me,” he cried, “take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.” The answer was, “Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.”—Signs of the Times, March 18, 1880.