BibliaTodo Commentaries


Benson Joseph
Exodus 7

1. And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.

2. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.

3. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.

4. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.

5. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.

6. And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they.

7. And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.

8. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

9. When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.

10. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.

11. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.

12. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.

13. And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

14. And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.

15. Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink against he come; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand.

16. And thou shalt say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.

17. Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.

18. And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall lothe to drink of the water of the river.

19. And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.

20. And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.

21. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.

22. And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.

23. And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.

24. And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river.

25. And seven days were fulfilled, after that the LORD had smitten the river.

Exodus 7

Exo 7:1. A god to Pharaoh — That is, my representative in this affair, as magistrates are called gods, because they are God’s vicegerents. He was authorized to speak and act in God’s name, and endued with a divine power, to do that which is above the ordinary course of nature. And Aaron shall be thy prophet — That is, he shall speak from thee to Pharaoh, as prophets do from God to the children of men. Thou shalt as a god inflict and remove the plagues, and Aaron as a prophet shall denounce them.

Exo 7:7. Moses was fourscore years old — Joseph, who was to be only a servant to Pharaoh, was preferred at thirty years old; but Moses, who was to be a god to Pharaoh, was not so dignified till he was eighty years old. It was fit he should long wait for such an honour, and be long in preparing for such a service.

Exo 7:9. Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod — This Moses ordinarily held in his hand, and delivered to Aaron, upon occasion, for the execution of his commands. For this and some other miracles were to be done, not by Moses immediately, but by Aaron, partly, perhaps, to preclude or take off the suspicion that these miracles were wrought by some magic arts of Moses, and partly for the greater honour of Moses, that he might be what God had said, (Exo 7:1,) a god to Pharaoh, who not only could work miracles himself, but also give power to others to do so. Perhaps the conjecture of Grotius upon this place may be worth mentioning here, which is, that the custom of ambassadors bearing a caduceus, or rod, in their hands, had its origin in this event, being taken up first by the neighbouring nations, and from them communicated to the Greeks and Romans. And it is remarkable that the caduceus of Mercury, the messenger of the gods of Greece and Rome, was formed of two serpents twisted round a rod.

Exo 7:10. It became a serpent — This was proper, not only to affect Pharaoh with wonder, but to strike a terror upon him. This first miracle, though it was not a plague, yet amounted to the threatening of a plague; if it made not Pharaoh feel, it made him fear; and this is God’s method of dealing with sinners; he comes upon them gradually.

Exo 7:11. Moses had been originally instructed in the learning of the Egyptians, and was suspected to have improved in magical arts in his long retirement. The magicians are therefore sent for to vie with him. The two chief of them were Jannes and Jambres. Their rods became serpents, probably by the power of evil angels, artfully substituting serpents in the room of the rods, God permitting the delusion to be wrought for wise and holy ends. But the serpent which Aaron’s rod was turned into, swallowed up the others: which was sufficient to have convinced Pharaoh on which side the right lay.

Exo 7:12. They became serpents — The authors of the Universal History cast considerable light on this subject: “If it be asked,” say they, “why God suffered the magicians to act thus, by a power borrowed from the devil, in order to invalidate, if possible, those miracles which his servant wrought by his divine power, the following reasons may be given for it: First, It was necessary that those magicians should be suffered to exert the utmost of their power against Moses, in order to clear him from the imputation of magic or sorcery; for as the notion of such an extraordinary art was very rife, not only among the Egyptians, but all other nations, if they had not entered into this strenuous competition with him, and been at length overcome by him, both the Hebrews and Egyptians would have been more apt to attribute all his miracles to his skill in magic, than to the divine power. Secondly, It was necessary in order to confirm the faith of the wavering and desponding Israelites, by making them see the difference between Moses’s acting by the power of God, and the sorcerers by that of Satan. And, lastly, In order to preserve them afterward from being seduced by any false miracles, from the true worship of God.”

Exo 7:13. And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart — That is, permitted it to be hardened: or, as the very same Hebrew word is rendered in Exo 7:22, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.

Exo 7:14. Pharaoh’s heart is hardened — כבד לב, is made heavy. Neither my word nor works make any impression upon him. He is obdurate and obstinate, and what was designed for his conviction and humiliation only aggravates his guilt, and prepares him for a more signal destruction.

Exo 7:15. Lo, he goeth out unto the water — Of the river Nile: whither he went at that time, either for his recreation, or to pay his morning worship to that river, which, as Plutarch testifies, the Egyptians had in great veneration.

Exo 7:18. The Egyptians shall loathe to drink of the water — “There are a few wells,” says Harmer, “in Egypt, but their waters are not drunk, being unpleasant and unwholesome. The water of the Nile is what they universally make use of in this country, which is looked upon to be extraordinarily wholesome, and at the same time extremely delicious.” And he refers to Maillett and another author, as affirming that the Egyptians have been wont to excite thirst artificially, that they might drink the more of it. He then quotes, the Abbot Mascrier (let. 1, pp. 15, 16) in the following words: “The water of Egypt is so delicious that one would not wish the heat should be less, nor to be delivered from the sensation of thirst. The Turks find it so exquisitely charming that they excite themselves to drink of it by eating salt. It is a common saying among them, that if Mohammed had drunk of it he would have begged of God not to have died, that he might always have done it.” On these facts Harmer remarks as follows: “A person that never before heard of this delicacy of the water of the Nile, 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, which he never observed before, The Egyptians shall loathe to drink of the river. They shall loathe to drink of that water which they used to prefer to all the waters in the universe — that which they had been wont eagerly to long for; and will rather drink of well-water, which in their country is detestable.” — Harmer, vol. 2. p. 295.

Exo 7:19. Upon their streams, &c., — both in vessels of wood and vessels of stone — “To what purpose this minuteness?” says the last-mentioned author. “May not the meaning be that the water of the Nile should not only look red and nauseous, like blood, in the river, but in their vessels too, and that no method of purifying it should take place, but, whether drunk out of vessels of wood or out of vessels of stone, by means of which they were wont to purge the Nile water, it should be the same, and should appear like blood.” — Harmer, vol. 2. p. 292.

Exo 7:20. The waters in the river were turned into blood — This was a plague justly inflicted on the Egyptians; for the river of Egypt was their idol; they and their land had so much benefit by that creature, that they served and worshipped it more than their Creator. In ancient times they annually even sacrificed a girl to it, at the opening of the canals, Univ. Hist., vol. 1. p. 413. Also they had stained the river with the blood of the Hebrew children, and now God made that river all bloody; thus he gave them blood to drink, for they were worthy, Rev 16:6. See the power of God! Every creature is that to us which he makes it to be, water or blood. See the mutability of all things under the sun, and what changes we may meet with in them. That which is water to-day may be blood to- morrow; what is always vain may soon become vexatious. And see what mischievous work sin makes! It is sin that turns our waters into blood. All the waters — It seems the word all here, and in the foregoing verse, is either to be understood in a limited sense, as it frequently is in Scripture, meaning not all in the strictest sense, but only a very great part; or else that although Moses’s commission extended to all the waters in Egypt, yet it was only executed upon the river Nile: because we read that the magicians did the same thing; but if Moses had turned all the waters into blood, as some scoffers have, with great raillery and triumph, observed, how could the magicians do the same, there being, on this supposition, no water for them upon which to make the trial.

Exo 7:22. The magicians did so — By God’s permission; with their enchantments — It seems they performed real miracles, for the text says expressly they did the same as Moses, and probably to their own surprise, as well as that of others, not knowing that any such effect would follow upon their using enchantments. Certainly they were ignorant of the extent of their own power, or rather, what Satan would or could do by them, and by what means these things came to pass, otherwise they would not have disgraced themselves, by making an attempt to bring forth lice, which they could not perform. What they did do served Pharaoh for an excuse not to set his heart to this also. And a poor excuse it was. Could they have turned the river of blood into water again, and by a word have purified those waters which the almighty power of God had rendered corrupt, they would have proved their power and done Pharaoh a signal favour. But the superiority of the miracles of Moses, even in these instances in which they vied with him, was incontestible: and they were compelled to acknowledge that what he did was by the finger of God. “God, by permitting them to succeed thus far in their opposition, rendered their folly more conspicuous: for by suffering them to change the waters into blood, and putting it out of their power to restore them to their former purity; and by permitting them to produce frogs, which they were not able to remove, he only put it in their power to increase those plagues upon themselves and their countrymen at the same time that they demonstrated their own inability.”— Bishop Kidder.

Exo 7:24. The Egyptians digged round about the river for water — Josephus says, they lost their labour, and found only blood there: but if they found water, or water less bloody, it is not material to us, as it does not lessen Moses’s miracle, it not being within the compass of his commission to prevent their getting water by digging.

Exo 7:25. Seven days were fulfilled — Before the plague was removed.

King James Version

This is the 1769 King James Version of the Holy Bible (also known as the Authorized Version). "Public Domain"