By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz May 19, 2020 , 1:10 pm
“Then Hashem said to Moshe, “Go to Pharaoh. For I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his courtiers, in order that I may display these My signs among them.” Exodus 10:1 (The Israel Bible™)
Iranian leaders have threatened Israel and the US countless times but fulfilling those threats will have to wait as their army currently has its hands full battling a swarm of locusts attacking the Islamic republic for the second year in a row. Southern Iran is being infested for the second year in a row by a huge swarm of locusts described as the worst in decades. The infestation is only the newest threat in a wave of troubles that has hit the country that has threatened Israel and the US countless times. Iran is was hit particularly hard by the coronavirus and the pandemic also led to oil prices plummeting to record lows, adding financial woes to the countries list of troubles. Economic sanctions led by President Trump multiplied the impact.
Mohammad Reza Mir, a spokesman for the ministry’s Plant Protection Organization (PPO), said the desert locusts attacked more than 494,000 acres of orchards and farmland in seven of Iran’s 31 provinces, the semi-official news agency ILNA reported, threatening to destroy crops worth more than $7 billion. “The military have promised to help fight the desert locusts, including by providing all-terrain vehicles for use in areas which are hard to access,” Mir told ILNA. “Last year the military provided personnel and vehicles, and that was a big help.”
The secretary of the Chabahar Agricultural Trade Union told Iran’s ILNA news website, “Compared with last year, the swarms of desert locusts are much larger, and it is safe to claim that the recent attacks are unprecedented.” A wave of locusts swept through East Africa last year, arriving in Iran, but the current wave is estimated to be 20 times larger and is described as the worst in 70 years. This wave very much resembles the Biblical plague in this respect, coming as part of a wave of catastrophes that left the land of Egypt bereft of any food.
Locusts invaded all the land of Egypt and settled within all the territory of Egypt in a thick mass; never before had there been so many, nor will there ever be so many again. They covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant of the field, through all the land of Egypt. Exodus 10:14-15
Desert locusts are always present in the region but are typically solitary. Favorable breeding conditions generate swarms and their behavior changes as they form groups that can be miles long and contain a billion individuals. Swarms are often tens of square kilometers in size. A swarm of just one square kilometer eats the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people. The swarms also can travel 93 miles a day making efforts to control an outbreak even more difficult.
According to Jewish tradition, the ten-plagues will reappear before the Messiah. Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, explained this aspect of the Messianic process to Breaking Israel News, quoting the Prophet Micah.
“All of the miracles will reappear, all of the plagues, the entire story, in all its pain and all its glory,” Rabbi Berger said. “Our job in this generation is to speak about it, to pray for it, even while it is unfolding in front of our eyes.”