1 The Lord said to Moses:
Go back to the king. I have made him and his officials stubborn, so that I could work these miracles. 2 I did this because I want you to tell your children and your grandchildren about my miracles and about my harsh treatment of the Egyptians. Then all of you will know that I am the Lord.
3 Moses and Aaron went to the king and told him that the Lord God of the Hebrews had said:
How long will you stubbornly refuse to obey? Release my people so they can worship me. 4 Do this by tomorrow, or I will cover your country with so many locusts 5 that you won't be able to see the ground. Most of your crops were ruined by the hailstones, but these locusts will destroy what little is left, including the trees. 6 Your palace, the homes of your officials, and all the other houses in Egypt will overflow with more locusts than have ever been seen in this country.
After Moses left the palace, 7 the king's officials asked, “Your Majesty, how much longer is this man going to be a troublemaker? Why don't you let the people leave, so they can worship the Lord their God? Don't you know that Egypt is a disaster?”
8 The king had Moses and Aaron brought back, and he said, “All right, you may go and worship the Lord your God. But first tell me who will be going.”
9 “Everyone, young and old,” Moses answered. “We will even take our sheep, goats, and cattle, because we want to hold a celebration in honor of the Lord.”
10 The king replied, “The Lord had better watch over you on the day I let you leave with your families! You're up to no good. 11 Do you want to worship the Lord? All right, take only the men and go.” Then Moses and Aaron were chased out of the palace.
12 The Lord told Moses, “Stretch your arm toward Egypt. Swarms of locusts will come and eat everything left by the hail.”
13 Moses held out his walking stick, and the Lord sent an east wind that blew across Egypt the rest of the day and all that night. By morning, locusts 14 were swarming everywhere. Never before had there been so many locusts in Egypt, and never again will there be so many. 15 The ground was black with locusts, and they ate everything left on the trees and in the fields. Nothing green remained in Egypt—not a tree or a plant.
16 At once the king sent for Moses and Aaron. He told them, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Forgive me one more time and ask the Lord to stop these insects from killing every living plant.”
18 Moses left the palace and prayed. 19 Then the Lord sent a strong west wind that swept the locusts into the Red Sea. Not one locust was left anywhere in Egypt, 20 but the Lord made the king so stubborn that he still refused to let the Israelites go.
21 The Lord said to Moses, “Stretch your arm toward the sky, and everything will be covered with darkness thick enough to touch.” 22 Moses stretched his arm toward the sky, and Egypt was covered with darkness for three days. 23 During that time, the Egyptians could not see each other or leave their homes, but there was light where the Israelites lived.
24 The king sent for Moses and told him, “Go worship the Lord! And take your families with you. Just leave your sheep, goats, and cattle.”
25 “No!” Moses replied. “You must let us offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, 26 and we won't know which animals we will need until we get there. That's why we can't leave even one of them here.”
27 This time the Lord made the king so stubborn 28 that he said to Moses, “Get out and stay out! If you ever come back, you're dead!”
29 “Have it your way,” Moses answered. “You won't see me again.”
© Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®) © 2006 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.