Two Plagues, One Purpose: Proof of God
Parshas Bo starts off in the middle of the plagues, just after the plague of hail. In Exod 10:2, just before the plague of locusts, God says, “And that you may recount in the hearing of your child and of your child’s child how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I displayed My signs among them—in order that you may know that I am God.” How will the plague of locusts prove that He is God? To find the answer, we must look at the “stated” purpose of this plague:
They shall cover the surface of the land, so that no one will be able to see the land. They shall devour the surviving remnant that was left to you after the hail; and they shall eat away all your trees that grow in the field. (Exod 10:5)
Why did God have to make the locusts devour the “remnants of the hail”, couldn’t He have destroyed all their crops with the hail alone, without the help of the locusts? Of course He could have! There must be a reason that God used 2 natural methods—not just 1—to destroy the vegetation.
Either one of the methods could have destroyed all the vegetation, but what is significant is that both plagues worked together for a single cause. This “working together” must have a Designer that orchestrated the identical goal of both plagues. This is seen from the verse in Exod. 10:5, “They shall devour the surviving remnant that was left to you after the hail.” Exodus 10:12 and 10:15 repeat that the locusts would devour the “remnants” of the hail.
Torah repetitions indicate significance.
The lesson is that God controls the heavens (hail) and animal life (locusts). When both realms are harnessed for a single objective, God shows there is a single control of all natural law.
This answers both questions. The identical objective in both plagues proves a divine plan, as stated in Exod. 10:2, “in order that you may know that I am God.” And the reason God used two plagues for the same objective is to show His exclusive rule over all natural realms.
This was a lesson targeted specifically at Egypt who imagined many forces were relegated to the many realms of the universe. Now, they saw Moses’ God controlled weather, animals, and all corners of the universe.