Exo 7:1 NASB) Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.
Exo 7:1: This particular comment “I make you as Elohim to Pharaoh” is an interesting one. It is a simile, but the “as” is not in the original text. Therefore it should read “I will make you Elohim to Pharaoh,…” It is obviously a metaphor, but to Pharaoh, the power of Elohim will seem to derive from Moses.
(Exo 7:2 NASB) “You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land.
(Exo 7:3 NASB) “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.
Exo 7:3: Elohim is reaffirming to Moses that He is the one who will harden Pharaoh’s heart. He mentioned this previously in Exodus 4:21.
(Exo 7:4 NASB) “When Pharaoh will not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt, and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments.
(Exo 7:5 NASB) “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.”
Exo 7:5: Egypt will know the name of Yahweh and that He did these powerful feats.
(Exo 7:6 NASB) So Moses and Aaron did it; as the LORD commanded them, thus they did.
(Exo 7:7 NASB) And Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharaoh.
(Exo 7:8 NASB) Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,
(Exo 7:9 NASB) “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Work a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’”
Exo 7:9: Moses and Aaron had previously performed these miraculous signs before the elders of Israel. Now they will do them in front of Pharaoh.
The significance of the signs is to show that the true conflict is between Elohim and the false Egyptian gods.
(Exo 7:10 NASB) So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent.
(Exo 7:11 NASB) Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts.
(Exo 7:12 NASB) For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.
Exo 7:12: Two of the magician’s of Egypt were said to be Jannes and Jambres. They were said to be two sons of Balaam.
Verse 11 says the sorcerers also made a rod turn into a serpent through their secret arts. They are using incantations in order to make their trick appear powerful. Snake-charmers in the Middle East still perform this deceptive trick of turning a rod into a serpent. They induce catatonic rigidity in the native cobra by exerting strong pressure on the nerve just below its head. The snake assumes a rod-like appearance and can even be handled by onlookers. But the jolt of being thrown to the ground restores it’s mobility. This trick is documented at least as far back as 500 A.D. and is likely the one used by the so-called magicians of Pharaoh.
The magicians of Egypt in modern times have long been celebrated adepts in charming serpents; and particularly by pressing the nape of the neck they throw them into a kind of catalepsy, which renders them stiff and immoveable, thus seeming to change them into a rod. They conceal the serpent about their person, and by acts of legerdemain produce it from their dress, stiff and straight as a rod. Just the same trick was played off by their ancient predecessors…. [A]nd so it appears they succeeded by their enchantments in practicing an illusion on the senses” (2002, 1:295, Exodus 7:11-14).http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1704
The snakes here are symbolic of the power of Pharaoh as they are consumed by the rod of Aaron. They are also symbolic of Satan, his power, and death, as they are “swallowed up in victory.”
(Exo 7:13 NASB) Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.
(Exo 7:14 NASB) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go.
Exo 7:14: Elohim hardens the heart of Pharaoh. He has great things in store to demonstrate to the world.
(Exo 7:15 NASB) “Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water, and station yourself to meet him on the bank of the Nile; and you shall take in your hand the staff that was turned into a serpent.
(Exo 7:16 NASB) “And you will say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now.”
(Exo 7:17 NASB) ‘Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it shall be turned to blood.
Exo 7:17: The first nine plagues form three groups of three plagues each: (1) blood (7:14-25), (2) frogs (8:1-15), and (3) lice (8:16-19); (4) flies, i.e., insects (8:22-32), (5) pestilence (9:1-7), and (6) boils (9:8-12); and (7) hail (9:13-35), (8) locusts (10:1-20), and (9) darkness (10:21-29).
The first plague in each group was announced in the morning, the second in each group was announced in Pharaoh’s palace, and the last in each group came without warning. By the third plague the Egyptian magicians were put to shame and were forced to see that Moses was the minister of a divine power greater than the gods of Egypt.
Beginning with the fourth plague, the region of Goshen was exempted from the plagues, thus identifying Moses’ power as coming from the Elohim of Israel.
By the sixth plague the magicians were themselves afflicted, and they could not stand before Moses.
After the ninth plague, Pharaoh broke off all negotiations. The tenth plague, inflicted directly by Elohim Himself, was the climax. Elohim demonstrated His complete superiority and left Pharaoh and his people without excuse.
This first plague is possibly a take on a well-known phenomenon that occurs periodically in the Nile Valley. The river is fed by melting snow and summer rains that pour down from the highlands of Ethiopia and sediment from the tropical red earth that characterizes that region. It is quite possible that this was an intensification of that sedimentation. The increase in flagellates and purple bacteria from the increased sedimentation would help kill off the fish as well. This also could be a form of Red Tide Algae that occurs in waters all over the world. This toxic algae makes the water a red color and kills all the fish in the water.
The Egyptians deified the Nile as the god Hapi. The flooding was regarded as a manifestation of the god Osiris. The contamination of the waters was an attack on the polytheism of Egypt.
There are plausible theories that the ten plagues were caused by the eruption of the Santorini volcano. There is a very good documentary called “Exodus Decoded” that goes into detail on the plagues and how that historic eruption may have caused them.
(Exo 7:18 NASB) “And the fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will become foul; and the Egyptians will find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile.”‘”
Exo 7:18: The fact that the text says that the Egyptians “will find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile” leads me to think that this was a sedimentation excess or an algae infestation caused by Elohim, but He might have turned the water directly into blood. However, blood does not seem to fit the context of this verse as well.
(Exo 7:19 NASB) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”
(Exo 7:20 NASB) So Moses and Aaron did even as the LORD had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood.
Exo 7:20: It was said long ago that the water in the Nile, as it was overflowing, was delicious. “The water of Egypt,” says Abbe Mascrier, “is so delicious, that one would not wish the heat to be less, or to be delivered from the sensation of thirst. The Turks find it so exquisite, that they excite themselves to drink of it by eating salt.” “A person,” adds Mr. Harmer, “who never before heard of the deliciousness of the Nile water, and of the large quantities which on that account are drunk of it, will, I am sure, find an energy in those words of Moses to Pharaoh, the Egyptians shall loathe to drink of the water of the river, which he never did before.”
(Exo 7:21 NASB) And the fish that were in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood was through all the land of Egypt.
(Exo 7:22 NASB) But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.
Exo 7:22: The fact that the magicians could duplicate this feat is telling as to the probability that it was red earth sediment giving the water the appearance of blood. Keep in mind that the magicians could continue the miracle, but could not stop it.
Pharaoh probably drank something other than water for a time and was unaffected personally.
(Exo 7:23 NASB) Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this.
(Exo 7:24 NASB) So all the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the Nile.
(Exo 7:25 NASB) And seven days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile.
Exo 7:25: The Egyptians searched for underground water sources to drink from. We are told in verse 25 that this plague lasted seven days, or at least the second plague came seven days later.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas