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Exodus Chapter 7
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Moses Told What to Expect
7:1 God said to Moses, 'Observe! I will be making you like a god to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.
7:2 You must announce all that I order you to, and your brother Aaron will relate it to Pharaoh. He will then let the Israelites leave his land.
7:3 'I will make Pharaoh obstinate, and will thus have the opportunity to display many miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt.
7:4 This is why Pharaoh will not pay attention to you. But then I will display My power against Egypt, and with great acts of judgment, I will bring forth from Egypt My armies - My people, the Israelites.
7:5 When I display My power and bring the Israelites out from among them, Egypt will know that I am God.'
7:6 Moses and Aaron did this. They did exactly as God had instructed them.
7:7 When they spoke to Pharaoh, Moses was 80 years old, and Aaron was 83 years old.

The Staff Becomes a Serpent
7:8 God said to Moses and Aaron,
7:9 'When Pharaoh speaks to you, he will tell you to prove yourself with a miraculous sign. You [Moses] must then tell Aaron, 'Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh. Let it become a viper!' '
7:10 Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh. They did exactly as God had said. Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh, and it became a viper.
7:11 Pharaoh summoned his scholars and magicians. The master symbolists were able to do the same thing with their magic tricks.
7:12 When each one threw down his staff, [the staffs] all turned into vipers.

Aaron's staff then swallowed up their staffs.

7:13 But Pharaoh remained obstinate and did not pay attention to them, just as God had predicted.

Warnings for the First Plague
7:14 God said to Moses, 'Pharaoh is obstinate and he refuses to let the people leave.
7:15 Pay a call on Pharaoh in the morning, when he goes out to the water. Stand where you will meet him on the bank of the Nile. Take in your hand the staff that was transformed into a snake.
7:16 'Say to him: God, Lord of the Hebrews, has sent me to you with the message, 'Let My people leave, and let them worship Me in the desert.' So far, you have not paid attention.
7:17 God [now] says, 'Through this you will know that I am God.' I will strike the water of the Nile with the staff in my hand, and [the water] will turn into blood.
7:18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will become putrid. The Egyptians will have to stop drinking water from the Nile.'

Blood: The First Plague
7:19 God said to Moses, 'Tell Aaron to take his staff and extend his hand over the waters of Egypt - over their rivers, their canals, their reservoirs, and every place where water is kept - and [the water] shall turn into blood. There will be blood throughout all Egypt, even in wooden [barrels] and stone [jars].'
7:20 Moses and Aaron did exactly as God had instructed. [Aaron] held the staff up, and then struck the Nile's water in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials. The Nile's water was transformed into blood.
7:21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river became so polluted that the Egyptians were no longer able to drink the Nile's water. There was blood everywhere in Egypt.
7:22 However, when the master symbolists of Egypt were able to produce the same effect with their hidden arts, Pharaoh became obstinate. He would not pay attention to [Moses and Aaron], just as God had predicted.
7:23 Pharaoh turned his back to them and went to his palace. Even to this [miracle], he would not pay attention.
7:24 The Egyptians dug around the Nile for drinking water, since they could not drink any water from the river.
7:25 After God struck the Nile, [it remained that way] for seven full days.

Frogs: The Second Plague
7:26 God said to Moses, 'Go to Pharaoh and say to him in My name, 'Let My people leave so they can serve Me.
7:27 If you refuse to let them leave, I will strike all your territories with frogs.
7:28 The Nile will swarm with frogs, and when they emerge, they will be in your palace, in your bedroom, and [even] in your bed. [They will also be in] the homes of your officials and people, even in your ovens and kneading bowls.
7:29 When the frogs emerge, they will be all over you, your people, and your officials.'



Commentary:

like a god
  (Targum Yonathan; Baaley Tosafoth). Or, 'a judge' (Rashi); 'a master' (Onkelos); 'like an angel' (Ibn Ezra). The word Elohim used here has all these connotations. See Exodus 4:16.

prophet
  Or 'spokesman' (Targum). See Exodus 4:16.

announce
  (Rashi). Or, 'tell [Aaron]' (Targum Yonathan; Ibn Ezra).

make....obstinate
  Literally, 'harden Pharaoh's heart' (Exodus 4:21).

display My power
  Literally, 'send forth My hand.'

display My power
  Same as Exodus 7:4.

exactly
  (Lekach Tov; cf. Mekhilta on Exodus 19:7). See Genesis 6:22.

Let it become
  A command, cf. Genesis 1:3.

viper
  Tanin in Hebrew. Some say that this is the same snake (nachash) that it became at the Burning Bush (Exodus 4:3), see Exodus 7:15 (Rashi; Lekach Tov; Radak, Sherashim, s.v. tanan). Others say that by the Burning Bush, God gave Moses a sign for the Israelites, but before Pharaoh, the staff turned into a crocodile (Ibn Ezra; K'li Yekar), and that this was Aaron's staff and not Moses' (K'li Yekar, cf. Zohar). Others say that Moses gave his staff to Aaron (Ibn Ezra).

master symbolists
  See Genesis 41:8. Some say that they were astrologers (Targum Yonathan on Exodus 7:22).

magic tricks
  Lahat in Hebrew. Some say that this has the connotation of speed, and hence denotes sleight of hand (Ibn Ezra; Ralbag; Hirsch). Others say that it is a kind of hypnotism (Bachya), possibly involving a sword (Radak, Sherashim; cf. Genesis 3:24). According to other opinions, since the word lahat usually denotes fire or flame, this is a kind of fire magic (Ramban). Significantly, in Egyptian, the same word (reka) denotes both fire and magic. According to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 67b; Rashi), this was magic involving the sword at the entrance of Eden (Genesis 3:24). It did not involve the 'Tree of Life,' but the forces of evil that form a shell around the tree. Other sources state that lahat is another form of lat meaning 'hidden arts' (Exodus 7:22; Ibn Janach; Ralbag).

canals
  (Rashi; Targum). Y'orim in Hebrew (Cf. Daniel 12:5). Or, 'streams.' The word is usually assumed to denote irrigation canals (Radak, Sherashim; Sekhel Tov), because they flow from the Nile, which is known as the Y'or (Ibn Janach). The term usually refers to Egyptian canals (2 Kings 19:24, Isaiah 7:18, 19:6, 37:25). The word y'or is thought to be related to the ancient Egyptian iaur or aur, a canal, stream, or arm of the Nile. In Coptic, the word is eiero or eioor.

reservoirs
  Agam-im in Hebrew. It is thus translated in Old French as astonc (Rashi), and in Spanish as estanque (Radak, Sherashim). It can also denote a lake or pool (palude in Spanish; Radak, Sherashim). Others write that this is any gathering of rain water (Ibn Ezra). The word may therefore be related to the Egyptian, since ag is a flood, and agem or agep is rain.

where water is kept
  Literally, 'gatherings of water.' These denote cisterns and wells (Ibn Ezra).

wooden barrels...
  (Targum; Rashi; Ibn Ezra). In ancient Semitic texts, a similar expression means 'woods and fields.' It is questionable whether or not this last sentence is part of what Moses was to tell Aaron.

hidden arts
  (Ibn Ezra). From the root lut, meaning to hide or conceal. See note on Exodus 7:11. According to some, this involved a form of demonology (Sanhedrin 67b).

in My name
  Literally, 'This is what God says: .....' See note on Genesis 20:13.





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