First and foremost, locusts are often associated with devastation, consuming crops, vegetation, and anything in their path. In the book of Exodus, the eighth plague inflicted on Egypt was a swarm of locusts, devastating the land and destroying their crops. This biblical event served as a punishment from God for Pharaoh’s refusal to release the Israelites from slavery.
Furthermore, locusts are portrayed as an instrument
Locusts appear in the Bible, usually when God is disciplining His people or issuing a judgment. While they are also mentioned as food and we know the prophet, John the Baptist was known to have subsisted in the wilderness on locusts and wild honey, most mentions of locusts in the Bible are during times of God’s wrath poured out either as discipline for His people or as a means of demonstrating His power so as to move those who defy Him to repentance.
In 17 texts spread between the Old and New Testaments, locusts are mentioned more than 30 times. Exodus, Psalms, Jeremiah, Joel, and Revelation all include chapters with vivid descriptions of locusts and historical tales of their destruction of crops.
What Are Locusts and Where Do We See Them in Scripture?
Like grasshoppers, locusts are often solitary insects. Boiled with salt or roasted to a delicious crunch, they are used as a protein source in several cultures. They may live in isolation for months without being discovered by anybody other than curious youngsters who are impressed by their powerful legs and incredible leaps. However, under the right circumstances. Because of their ability to swarm, locusts pose a significant threat to agricultural production. In this swarming phase, frequently brought on by dryness, they spawn fast and move in enormous clouds, destroying everything flora in their path. Swarms of locusts are a modern phenomenon, most often seen in Africa, India, and the Middle East but also occurring in certain regions of the United States. The BBC claims that in the year 2020, locust swarms occurred in several different nations. When they hit numerous adjacent nations in this fashion, we refer to this as a “plague of locusts.”
The Old Testament has many accounts of locust swarms, which play an important role in Jewish history. They play significant roles in Old Testament and New Testament prophecy as well.
What Role Did Locusts Play in the Egyptian Plagues?
Most famously, locusts played a starring role when Moses took on Pharaoh in Egypt. One of the 10 plagues Moses called down upon the Egyptians was locusts. The Israelites had been enslaved for generations under cruel Egyptian Pharaohs. In the time of Moses, it was God’s plan to free them from slavery, but Pharaoh’s heart was hard.
To convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites, God sent 10 plagues (blood, frogs, gnats/lice, flies, cattle pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the death of the firstborn). God made the water they used to be red and the frogs and gnats stinging them. God delivered a disease that killed their cattle, boils that infected their bodies, and finally hail that ruined most of their food supply because the people persisted and Pharaoh was rooted in his hardness. Since Pharaoh showed no sign of giving up, God sent locusts to devour what was left after the hail. They were the cleanup team, and they were determined to leave not even a single leaf or twig for Pharaoh’s people to eat.
We can see that the three days of darkness and the subsequent slaughter of every firstborn son were even greater plagues than the locusts. Some have made the connection between the Egyptians’ polytheism and the numerology of the 10 plagues (10 being the number of completion). A challenge to Hapi, deity of the Nile, would be to transform the river into blood. Heket, the goddess of fertility, truly had the head of a frog and hence, the plague of frogs. Swarming locusts resemble a large storm cloud on the horizon and would have been a challenge to Seth, the god of chaos and storms.
God has no problem demonstrating that He is God over all the universe. There is no one greater than He.