Exodus 7 Commentary

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Irving Jensen (Online) - Used by Permission
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Summary Chart of
The Book of Exodus
Redemption from Egypt
Ex 1:1-18:27
Revelation from God
Ex 19:1-40:38
Getting Israel Out of Egypt Getting Egypt Out of Israel!
Narration Legislation
Birth of
Ex 1-2
Call of
Ex 3-6
Conflict with Pharaoh
Ex 7-10
Ex 11-12
Ex 13-15
Ex 16-18
Ex 19-24
Ex 25-31
Ex 32-34
Ex 35-40
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of People of God
of God
of God
Moses and
Burdens of Israel
Pharaoh and
Plagues Upon Egypt
Red Sea
and Oppression
and Provision
Law Pattern
and Construction
Israel in Egypt
Ex 1:1-13:16
Israel to Sinai
Ex 13:17-18:27
Israel at Sinai
Ex 19:1-40:38
God's People
God's Grace
in Redemption
God's Glory
in Worship
430 Years

(15% of Exodus)
2 Months

(30% of Exodus)
Mt Sinai
10 Months

(55% of Exodus)
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(from Believer's Study Bible)

Exodus 7:1  Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.

  • See - Ex 16:29 Ge 19:21 1Ki 17:23 2Ki 6:32 Ec 1:10 
  • a god - Ex 4:15,16 Ps 82:6 Jer 1:10 Joh 10:35,36 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


This is another example of a poor chapter break. Exodus 6 ends with Moses' repeated excuse that he can't speak (Ex 4:10+, Ex 6:12+, Ex 6:30+) and because of this Pharaoh would not listen to him. God's response once again shows us His boundless patience with His hesitating servant Moses. What is amazing here is that God does not even chastise Moses! O the depth of the mercy of God! Moses would have surely appreciated the words of Charles Wesley's great hymn (as we all can!!!)....

Depth of mercy, can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear me
The chief of sinners, spare?

Heaven find me on my knees
Hear my soul impassioned pleas
Depth of mercy, can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?

Now incline me to repent
Let me now my sins lament
Deeply my revolt deplore
Weep, believe and sin no more

Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet - Earlier God had told Moses "you will be as God to" Aaron who was to speak for him (Ex 4:16). In other words Moses was like God in that (like God) he had a prophet, his brother Aaron. And just as Moses was not to act on his own initiative but to wait on Jehovah's direction, so too Aaron was not to act on his own initiative, but was to wait for words from God through Moses.

Constable says "Moses was “as God” to Pharaoh in that he was the person who revealed God’s will (v. 1). Pharaoh was to be the executor of that will."

Cassuto comments "Replying to Moses’ doubt, which was stated in the preceding verse in the words, ‘Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips; how then shall Pharaoh listen to me?’, the Lord deals with his objections seriatim. He begins in a paternal tone: 1 See, my son, consider the matter well, and you will be convinced that all your anxieties can be easily set at rest. Regarding your first fear, that you are of ‘uncircumcised lips’, let me put you at ease at once: you have no need to do much speaking, for I have made you a god to Pharaoh. You will not only be a god vis-à-vis your brother Aaron (4:16)—that is, you will instruct him what to say, just as God instructs His prophets—but I have also made you a god before Pharaoh. Although Pharaoh is himself considered a deity, he is nevertheless accustomed to hear the prophets of Egypt address him in the name of their gods; now you will appear before him as one of the divinities, who do not speak directly but through their prophets, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet, and he will speak in your name to Pharaoh. These words possibly contain a bitter ironic reflection on the Egyptian deities who ‘have a mouth yet do not speak.’   But you, Moses, will transcend the gods of Egypt in that you will not be wholly dumb: You shall speak all that I command you—words few in number but decisive in content you will be able to speak, and you will utter them at My command; and Aaron your brother shall speak to Pharaoh, delivering speeches before him whenever required, and he will let go—that means to say, so that he may let go—the children of Israel from his land." (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

Thomas on prophet - A prophet is one who represents God to man and, as such, all the Lord’s people are prophets. Are we giving those around a true idea of God?

NET - Moses was to be like God to Aaron, and Aaron was to speak for him. This indicates that the idea of a “prophet” was of one who spoke for God, an idea with which Moses and Aaron and the readers of Exodus are assumed to be familiar.

Exodus 7:2  "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.

  • Ex 4:15 6:29 Dt 4:2 1Ki 22:14 Jer 1:7,17 Eze 3:10,17 Mt 28:20 Ac 20:27 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


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 - Notice the pattern. Jehovah speaks the command to Moses and Aaron speaks exactly these words to Pharaoh. One is reminded of the warning in Dt 4:2 that "You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." Neither Moses or Aaron were to add to the Word from Jehovah. God's demand remained unchanged and non-negotiable - "Let My people go!" God's plan was unchanged! As Ps 33:11 says "The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation." 

Exodus 7:3  "But I will harden Pharaoh's heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.

  • And I - Ex 4:21,29 
  • multiply - Ex 4:7 9:16 11:9 De 4:34 7:19 Ne 9:10 Ps 78:43-51 105:27-36 Ps 135:9 Isa 51:9 Jer 32:20,21 Mic 7:15 Joh 4:48 Ac 2:22 7:36 Ro 15:19 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But I will harden Pharaoh's heart - Pharaoh's heart problem is a key theme in Exodus 7-10 and is described in one of three ways - (1) God hardened his heart, (2) Pharaoh himself hardened his heart and (3) with the general statement without indicating the cause "his heart was hardened."

Guzik applies this principle noting that "God can do the same today. In our rebellion, we may reach the place where God will strengthen us in the evil we desire: Therefore God also gave them up to their uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts … and even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting (Romans 1:24, 28+)."

That I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt - The repeated instances of Pharaoh's heart being hardened would fulfill God's purpose which was to demonstrate his supernatural mathematics in the land of Egypt. Signs are miracles that have special significance, that point to something, and so we see that all of the plagues ultimately point to God's sovereignty which superseded and subjugated the so-called sovereignty of the Pharaoh. Wonders are miracles that produce astonishment and awe in all who witness the miracles. 

PLAGUE - Although we commonly refer to the "Ten Plagues," the actual word "plague" is only used 3 times in Exodus to refer to the "Ten Plagues" (Ex 9:14, Ex 11:1 and Ex 12:13). Our English word plague is from the late 14c., plage, "affliction, calamity, evil, scourge;" early 15c., "malignant disease," from Old French plage (14c.), from Late Latin plaga, used in Vulgate for "pestilence," from Latin plaga "stroke, wound," probably from root of plangere "to strike, lament (by beating the breast)," from or cognate with Greek (Doric) plaga "blow." And so the main idea behind the word plague is a blow or a wound inflicted on another. It is not a good thing when the one inflicting the blow is God Himself! 

See Table of the 10 Plagues.

Wiersbe - The miracles and plagues were also God’s way of judging the gods of Egypt and proving them false and futile. “Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord” (Ex 12:12; and see Ex 18:11 and Num. 33:4). More than eighty different deities were worshiped in Egypt, but they could do nothing to deliver the land and the people from the terrible judgments Jehovah sent. If nothing else, the Egyptians learned that Jehovah was the true and living God.  But the people of Israel also needed to learn this lesson. According to Ezekiel 20:1–9 (ED: TAKE A MOMENT AND READ THIS PASSAGE RECORDED BELOW), some of the Jews had begun to worship the Egyptian gods; and when they were delivered from Egypt, they took their gods with them!  (ED: STEPHEN DOCUMENTS THIS IN HIS SERMON IN Acts 7 -- SEE EXCERPT BELOW) Did they compromise their faith in an attempt to please their captors and receive better treatment? But how could they forsake Jehovah after seeing all the demonstrations of His power? “Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies” (Ps. 106:7, NKJV).(Be Delivered)

Ezekiel 20:1–9 Now in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth of the month, certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me. 2 And the word of the LORD came to me saying, 3 “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Do you come to inquire of Me? As I live,” declares the Lord GOD, “I will not be inquired of by you.”’ 4 “Will you judge them, will you judge them, son of man? Make them know the abominations of their fathers; 5 and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “On the day when I chose Israel and swore to the descendants of the house of Jacob and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, when I swore to them, saying, I am the LORD your God, 6 on that day I swore to them, to bring them out from the land of Egypt into a land that I had selected for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands. 7 “I said to them, ‘Cast away, each of you, the detestable things of his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.’ 8 “But they rebelled against Me and were not willing to listen to Me; they did not cast away the detestable things of their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. 9 But I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made Myself known to them by bringing them out of the land of Egypt.

Acts 7:39 “Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him (MOSES), but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt, 40 SAYING TO AARON, ‘MAKE FOR US GODS WHO WILL GO BEFORE US; FOR THIS MOSES WHO LED US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT–WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.’ 41 “At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42 “But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL? 43 YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA, THE IMAGES WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP. I ALSO WILL REMOVE YOU BEYOND BABYLON.’  (Acts 7:39-43+)

Guzik points out that "Even as God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, He also gave him reasons to believe and surrender to God—if he wanted to.

Thou shalt speak all that I command thee.J. R. MILLER.

To every one of us God gives something that He wants us to say to others. We cannot all write poems or hymns, or compose books which will bless men; but if we live near the heart of Christ, there is not one of us into whose ear He will not whisper some fragment of truth, some revealing of grace or love, or to whom He will not give some experience of comfort in sorrow, some new glimpse of glory. Each friend of Christ, living close to Him, learns something from Him and of Him which no one has learned before, which he is to forth-tell to the world.

Exodus 7:4  "When Pharaoh does 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.

  • then I will lay - Ex 9:3 10:1 11:9 Jud 2:15 La 3:3 
  • bring out My hosts- Ex 6:26 12:51 
  • great judgments - Ex 6:6 Pr 19:29 Isa 26:9 Eze 14:21 25:11 30:14,19 Rev 15:4 16:7 Rev 19:2 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


When Pharaoh does 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 - My hosts recalls the description of Ex 6:26 "Sons of Israel...according to their hosts." My people shows God's claim on Israel, a claim Pharaoh was usurping by making them his slaves. The signs, the plagues, would be great judgments on Egypt. 

NET on lay My hand - Literally “put my hand into.” The expression is a strong anthropomorphism to depict God’s severest judgment on Egypt. The point is that neither the speeches of Moses and Aaron nor the signs that God would do will be effective. Consequently, God would deliver the blow that would destroy.

NET on My hosts  - Often translated “hosts” (ASV, NASB) or “armies” (KJV), צְבָאוֹת (tséva’ot) is a military term that portrays the people of God in battle array. In contemporary English, “regiment” is perhaps more easily understood as a force for battle than “company” (cf. NAB, NRSV) or “division” (NIV, NCV, NLT), both of which can have commercial associations. The term also implies an orderly departure.

MacArthur adds that My hosts depicts "The nation as organized like an army with its different divisions (its tribes) and also as God’s military instrument upon the Canaanites.' (MSB)

Cassuto writes "As for the second part of the objection that you, Moses, raised before Me, saying, ‘how then shall Pharaoh listen to Me?’ (Ex 6:30, cf Ex 6:12), do not fear. Pharaoh will certainly not listen to you, but this is of no consequence. On the contrary, this is one of the points of My plan: And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and his obduracy will be instrumental in bringing upon him the retributions he deserves for the enslavement of the Israelites and the murder of their infant sons. And I will multiply, for the purpose of this punishment, My signs and My portents in the land of Egypt. Do not, therefore, be concerned if you do not immediately receive a positive reply, and Pharaoh will not listen to you; for it is actually as a result of his refusal to grant your request, that I shall arise and lay My hand on Egypt, and bring forth, in the end, My hosts (see on Ex 6:26), My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgements (see on 6:6). It is true that Pharaoh said that he did not know YHWH (Ex 5:2), but then he and his people will learn to recognize Me, and the Egyptians shall know that I am YHWH, when they behold my acts, when I stretch forth My hand upon Egypt to inflict punishment upon the oppressors, and when I bring out (this is how Hebrew syntax requires that the word והוֹצֵאתִי wehōṣē’thī [literally, ‘and I shall bring out’], which is coordinated with the preceding infinitive, should be understood) the children of Israel from among them. (Ibid)

Cole on by great judgments - Cf. Ex 6:6, for Israel is ‘in the right’ and pharaoh is ‘in the wrong’, as he himself will admit in Exodus 9:27. This is another way of looking at the ‘signs’ of Ex 7:3, for every plague is also a judicial activity of God, at once righteous Judge and Saviour. (Ibid)

Exodus 7:5  "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."

  • Egyptians - Ex 7:17 Ex 8:10,22 Ex 14:4,18 Ps 9:16 Eze 25:17 28:22 36:23 39:7,22 
  • I stretch - Ex 3:20 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD (see Ex 7:17 Ex 8:10,22) - The pagans would know I am the LORD from the power of His plagues. Although they would come to know Him, it would not be in the form of a blessing, but a curse, which fulfilled God's prophecy in Genesis 12:3+ that "the one who curses you I will curse."

MacArthur on know that I am the LORD - This purpose of the Exodus finds repeated mention in God’s messages to Pharaoh and in God’s descriptions of what He was doing (cf. Exodus 7:16; 8:10, 22; 9:14, 16, 29; 14:4, 18). Some of the Egyptians did come to understand the meaning of the name Yahweh, for they responded appropriately to the warning of the seventh plague (Ex 9:20), and others accompanied Israel into the wilderness (Ex 12:38). In the final analysis, Egypt would not be able to deny the direct involvement of the God of Israel in their rescue from bondage and the destruction of Egypt’s army. (MSB)

Kaiser - These miracles would also be an invitation for the Egyptians to personally believe in the Lord. Thus the invitation was pressed repeatedly … and some apparently did believe, for there was a ‘mixed multitude’ (Exodus 12:38) that left Egypt with Israel. (EBC)

NET - By the time the actual exodus took place, the Egyptians would have “known” the name Yahweh, probably hearing it more than they wished. But they will know—experience the truth of it—when Yahweh defeats them.

When I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst - In another anthropomorphism God says He will stretch out His hand, but He uses Moses and Aaron to stretch out His staff (the staff of God - Ex 4:20+, Ex 17:9) to symbolize His power behind the plagues. As a result of God's "stretching" it would enable Him to be "bringing" out His people. We see the contrasting picture of God not stretching out His hand in Ex 24:11. 

Constable has an excellent comment - The ultimate purpose of God’s actions was His own glory (Ex 7:5). The glory of God was at stake. The Egyptians would acknowledge God’s faithfulness and sovereign power in delivering the Israelites from their bondage and fulfilling their holy calling. God’s intention was to bless the Egyptians through Israel (Ge 12:3+), but Pharaoh would make that impossible by his stubborn refusal to honor God. Nevertheless the Egyptians would acknowledge Yahweh’s sovereignty.

Spurgeon - Checkbook of Faith - 

THE ungodly world is hard to teach. Egypt does not know Jehovah, and therefore dares to set up his idols, and even ventures to ask—“Who is the Lord?” Yet the Lord means to break proud hearts, whether they will or not. When his judgments thunder over their heads, darken their skies, destroy their harvests, and slay their sons, they begin to discern somewhat of Jehovah’s power. There will yet be such things done in the earth as shall bring sceptics to their knees. Let us not be dismayed because of their blasphemies, for the Lord can take care of his own name, and he will do so in a very effectual manner.
The salvation of his own people was another potent means of making Egypt know that the God of Israel was Jehovah, the living and true God. No Israelite died by any one of the ten plagues. None of the chosen seed were drowned in the Red Sea. Even so, the salvation of the elect, and the sure glorification of all true believers, will make the most obstinate of God’s enemies acknowledge that Jehovah he is the God.
Oh, that his convincing power would go forth by his Holy Spirit in the preaching of the gospel, till all nations shall bow at the name of Jesus, and call him Lord!

F B Meyer -   The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.

In God’s dealings with his people He purposed to reveal Himself to Egypt: so that when He led forth Israel’s hosts, in redemption power, from the brickfields of slavery on to resurrection ground, there might be afforded such a display of his love, and pity, and power, as the world had never before witnessed. Egypt and all surrounding nations should know the character of God in the Exodus, as the Lover and Redeemer of his own.

So with the Church. — The Apostle tells us that redeemed men are to be the subjects of angelic contemplation and wonder. In the Church, principalities and powers shall discern the manifold wisdom and grace of God. When God has brought all the ransomed hosts up from the Egyptian bondage of the world to stand in the radiance of the eternal morning, then the universe shall ring with the ascription, “Great and marvelous are thy works. Righteous and true are thy ways.”

So with each individual believer. — Each one of us has been formed for Jesus Himself, that we might show forth his praise. In growing purity and sweetness, in our deliverance from the clinging corruptions of the world and flesh, in our patience under tribulation, our submission and steadfast hope, in our willingness to sacrifice ourselves for others, let us be revelations of what Christ is, and of what He can make sinful men become.

Believers are the world’s Bibles, by studying which men may come to know the Lord Himself. Let us see to it that we be clear in type, unmistakable in our testimony, pleasant to behold, thoughtful and helpful towards all, commending the blessed Bridegroom whom the world sees not. 

Exodus 7:6  So Moses and Aaron did it; as the LORD commanded them, thus they did.

  • Ex 7:2,10 12:28 39:43 40:16 Ge 6:22 22:18 Ps 119:4 Joh 15:10,14 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


So Moses and Aaron did it; as the LORD commanded them, thus they did - Moses the writer repeats "did" as if they had finally come to their senses and realized God meant business! How patience was God with them! How patience God is with each of us who continue to fall back into that sin that so easily entangles us and adversely impacts our "race." (Heb 12:1+)

THOUGHT - Note the phrase as the LORD commanded which is a good reminder for all of us to do exactly (blamelessly) as He instructs and commands us to live our Christian life, not adding humanistic thinking to His clear instructions and commands. As the psalmist says "How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD." (Ps 119:1) In fact given our fleshly tendency to wander off His highway of holiness, our prayer should frequently be "Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it." (Ps 119:35) remembering to use His guidebook, His Word, which "is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Ps 119:105). Indeed, "In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight." (Pr 3:6)

Exodus 7:7  Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

  • Ex 2:23 Ge 41:46 De 29:5 31:2 34:7 Ps 90:10 Ac 7:23,30
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Moses and Aaron should motivate all of us to seek continually and strive diligently to finish well like Paul ("I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" 2 Ti 4:7+) and not to waste our so-called "golden years," but to use our "golden years" to bring great glory to God! If you are an older believer who is retired, I challenge you to not lose the precious, passing opportunities you have today to store up for yourself eternal treasure for tomorrow (in heaven). You might want to read the motivating book by John Piper entitled Don't Waste Your Life! And here is a link to the first 29 pages (of 140 pages) from Randy Alcorn's The Treasure Principle

Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharaoh - Given my age (74 yo), I find great encouragement in this documentation of their advanced ages. God used these men of age to bring about the greatest deliverance of the Old Testament, pointing to the greatest deliverance of the ages, the deliverance made possible by the Cross of Jesus Christ! Dear believer, if you are older, God can use you in a powerful way if you surrender wholly to His Holy Spirit and Holy Word. It is NEVER too late to begin to redeem the time, for He is the God Who is able to restore the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25KJV+). 

Moses would end up living another 40 years and would die at age 120 (Deut. 34:7). Aaron would also end up living another 40 years and would die at age 123 (Num. 33:39). It is never too late to start obeying God’s Word and defending the true doctrines of God.

Guzik - This is retirement age for many, but Moses knew that God’s will was more important than retirement. We also see from this that Aaron was Moses’ older brother, so God went against the conventional customs of that day by making the younger brother more prominent.

Cassuto has an interesting observation that “It is a common feature of biblical narratives for the age of their heroes to be stated at the time when some momentous event befalls them." (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

D. L. Moody wittily said that Moses spent
forty years in Pharaoh’s court thinking he was somebody;
forty years in the desert learning he was nobody; and
forty years showing what God can do with somebody who found out he was nobody."
-- Bernard Ramm

How fitting that it was Moses who would pen the following words in Psalm 90....

"As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away."  
Psalm 90:10 

Spurgeon comments on this psalm - 

As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years. Moses himself lived longer than this, but his was the exception not the rule: in his day life had come to be very much the same in duration as it is with us. This is brevity itself compared with the men of the elder time; it is nothing when contrasted with eternity. Yet is life long enough for virtue and piety, and all too long for vice and blasphemy. Moses here in the original writes in a disconnected manner, as if he would set forth the utter insignificance of man's hurried existence. His words may be rendered, "The days of our years! In them seventy years": as much as to say, "The days of our years? What about them? Are they worth mentioning? The account is utterly insignificant, their full tale is but seventy."

Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow. The unusual strength which overleaps the bound of threescore and ten only lands the aged man in a region where life is a weariness and a woe. The strength of old age, its very prime and pride, are but labour and sorrow; what must its weakness be? What panting for breath! What toiling to move! What a failing of the senses! What a crushing sense of weakness! The evil days are come and the years wherein a man cries, "I have no pleasure in them." The grasshopper has become a burden and desire faileth. Such is old age. Yet mellowed by hallowed experience, and solaced by immortal hopes, the latter days of aged Christians are not so much to be pitied as envied. The sun is setting and the heat of the day is over, but sweet is the calm and cool of the eventide: and the fair day melts away, not into a dark and dreary night, but into a glorious, unclouded, eternal day. The mortal fades to make room for the immortal; the old man falls asleep to wake up in the region of perennial youth.

For soon it is gone and we fly away. The cable is broken and the vessel sails upon the sea of eternity; the chain is snapped and the eagle mounts to its native air above the clouds. Moses mourned for men as he thus sung: and well he might, as all his comrades fell at his side. His words are more nearly rendered, "He drives us fast and we fly away; "as the quails were blown along by the strong west wind, so are men hurried before the tempests of death. To us, however, as believers, the winds are favourable; they bear us as the gales bear the swallows away from the wintry realms, to lands

"Where everlasting spring abides
And never withering flowers."

Who wishes it to be otherwise? Wherefore should we linger here? What has this poor world to offer us that we should tarry on its shores? Away, away! This is not our rest. Heavenward, Ho! Let the Lord's winds drive fast if so he ordains, for they waft us the more swiftly to himself, and our own dear country. (Psalm 90)

Exodus 7:8  Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,


Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying - Now the great drama of divine redemption begins to unfold in vivid demonstrations of the power of the Almighty God. We have heard these stories since children, but we do well to read them begging the Spirit to open the eyes our our heart to see the greatness of our God and His immeasurable love for those who belong to Him by an everlasting covenant. Yes, Lord, by Your Spirit may the eyes of our heart may be enlightened, so that we will know what is the hope of Your calling, what are the riches of the glory of Your inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of Your power toward us who believe. In Jesus' Name. Amen (Eph 1:18-19+)

Believer's Study Bible - Here begins the first great concentrated period of biblical miracles. The second period comes in the days of Elijah and Elisha, and the third covers the life of Jesus and His apostles. A miracle is a signature of God, His sign of confirmation that the proclaimed message is truly His revelation. Miracles do not contradict God's created order; they are real events, although they transcend the normal pattern of cause and effect.



"Now the magicians of Egypt....cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents." (Exodus 7:11,12)

When I was young, I often wondered how the magicians of Egypt could make snakes out of their rods in the presence of Pharaoh like Aaron had done. I knew God had divinely commissioned His ambassadors to perform a miracle, but were those on Satan’s side permitted special demonic power to do the same? Perhaps in reproducing some of the plagues they were, but I don’t think that was true in this case.

Commentators say that serpents engraved on Egyptian monuments have the appearance of an Irish-thorn cane, with the head turned over the body as a handle. From this they conclude that the magicians knew how to paralyze a snake by putting pressure on the back of its neck so that it would become rigid. The sorcerers used these reptiles as walking sticks. The people would stare in amazement when they threw these ‘canes’ on the ground, for with the pressure released, the snakes would begin to crawl away. Then the magicians would seize the serpents and pinch their neck nerves, and they again became paralyzed and stiff.

Prior to the account in Exodus 7, Moses had been told to take his staff, which through God’s power had become a serpent, and hold it not by the neck but “by the tail” to turn it into a rod (Ex. 4:4). Assuming that Aaron did the same thing in Pharaoh’s presence, it would be obvious that his act was a true miracle and not trickery.

The devil’s followers are still using deception, and they counterfeit God’s power to gain attention. Because “many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1), beware lest they trick you. Henry G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

O Let us learn from Thy blest Word
Base error to discern,
And by Thy Spirit’s light and help
From Satan’s snares to turn.
-- Bosch

Error often comes dressed in the garment of truth

Exodus 7:9  "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.'"

  • Work a miracle - Isa 7:11 Mt 12:39 Jn 2:18 Jn 6:30 Jn 10:38 
  • Take your staff - Ex 7:10-12 Ex 4:2,17,20 9:23 10:13 
  • that it may become a serpent- Ps 74:12,13 Eze 29:3 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, 'Work a miracle' - Pharaoh was in essence asking for accreditation of Moses and Aaron and his request would be answered more than he wanted! Pharaoh's request for a miracle foreshadows the repeated requests by the unbelieving Jews who said to Jesus "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?” (Jn 2:18+, cf Jn 6:30). And even as the majority of the Jews refused to believe in Jesus despite the many signs and wonders He performed, so too we see Pharaoh's heart refuses to believe the signs that point to the one true God. O yes, he will come to know Him, but not as Redeemer, but Judge! 

Then you shall say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.' - It is interesting that this is the first sign God had given Moses to perform before the sons of Israel that they might believe he was sent by God and for their good. (Ex 4:2-4,5+, Ex 4:29-30, 31+). 

Believer's Study Bible - The significance of the miraculous sign is in its challenge to the Egyptian sorcerers and in its demonstration that the true conflict is between Yahweh and the false Egyptian gods (Ex 7:12; Nu 33:4). The conflict will show the marked superiority of the God of Israel. In most, if not all the miracles, there were particular Egyptian gods believed to protect the Egyptians from each of Yahweh's plagues.

Exodus 7:10  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.

  • as the LORD had commanded - Ex 7:9 
  • iit became a serpent - Ex 4:3 Am 9:3 Mk 16:18 Lu 10:19 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


God intentionally started with this, knowing exactly what Pharaoh's magicians would do. He could have begun with Plague #3 gnats which the magicians could not reproduce. With the staff to serpent, water to blood and frogs, God knew the magicians would be able to at least in part reproduce these signs. The net effect would be that Pharaoh's heart would become a bit more hardened each time. One can only imagine his face when the gnats flew in, in hordes! 

So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the LORD had commanded - Recall they had been before Pharaoh in Ex 5:1-3,4+ but without success. But forgetting what lay behind, they press on in immediate obedience to God's command. They are now fortified by His Word. They had been fortified to an extent by His Word before, but now they really believe His Word and are willing to risk their lives in unquestioning obedience.

Guzik adds "The first time Moses and Aaron went before Pharaoh everything seemed to go wrong (Exodus 5:15–19). It took courage for them to go to Pharaoh again, but Moses simply obeyed God."

And Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent - Aaron carried the staff in Ex 7:19, Ex 8:5, 16,17. The first time this miracle had apparently been performed by Moses before the Jewish elders and people, but here it is Aaron who receives the honor of carrying out this miracle. 

Guzik points out that "This was not exactly the same miracle that Moses experienced on Mount Sinai and performed before the elders of Israel (Exodus 4:2–5 and Ex 4:29–30). That saw the rod of Moses turn into a serpent (ED: serpent = nachash - used in Ex 4:3 and again below in Ex 4:15), but a different Hebrew word is used here (ED: Hebrew = tannin)—something like a crocodile, which was something of a symbol of Egypt itself.

NET on serpent - The noun used here is תַּנִּין (tannin), and not the word for “serpent” or “snake” used in chap. 4. This noun refers to a large reptile, in some texts large river or sea creatures (Gen 1:21; Ps 74:13) or land creatures (Deut 32:33). This wonder paralleled Moses’ miracle in 4:3 when he cast his staff down. But this is Aaron’s staff, and a different miracle. The noun could still be rendered “snake” here since the term could be broad enough to include it.

Serpent (08577)(tannin) is "A masculine noun meaning a serpent, a dragon, and a sea monster. It can connote a creature living in the water (Gen. 1:21; Job 7:12; Ps. 148:7). When the word is used this way, it is also used figuratively to represent the crocodile, which was the symbol of Pharaoh and Egypt (Ps. 74:13; Isa. 27:1; 51:9; Ezek. 29:3). This imagery may help us better understand the confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh, when Aaron's staff became a serpent and then swallowed the staff-serpents of Pharaoh's magicians (Ex. 7:9, 10, 12). God was providing a graphic sign of what was to come. It can also connote a creature that lives on the land (Deut. 32:33; Ps. 91:13; Jer. 51:34). There is one other occurrence of this term in the Old Testament where it is used as a descriptor or part of a proper name for a well or a spring (Neh. 2:13). In all its occurrences, this term has either a neutral (Gen. 1:21; Ps. 148:7); or a negative meaning (Isa. 27:1; 51:9; Jer. 51:34). In a few instances, the negative meaning is somewhat lessened, as when God provides a serpent to save His people (Ex. 7:9, 10, 12); or when a serpent was divinely restrained (Ps. 91:13)." (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)

Tannin - 28v - AV - dragon 21, serpent 3, whale 3, sea monster 1  Gen. 1:21; Exod. 7:9; Exod. 7:10; Exod. 7:12; Deut. 32:33; Neh. 2:13; Job 7:12; Job 30:29; Ps. 44:19; Ps. 74:13; Ps. 91:13; Ps. 148:7; Isa. 13:22; Isa. 27:1; Isa. 34:13; Isa. 35:7; Isa. 43:20; Isa. 51:9; Jer. 9:11; Jer. 10:22; Jer. 14:6; Jer. 49:33; Jer. 51:34; Jer. 51:37; Lam. 4:3; Ezek. 29:3; Ezek. 32:2; Mic. 1:8

Dwight Pentecost - “What we refer to as the ten ‘plagues’ were actually judgments designed to authenticate Moses as God’s messenger and his message as God’s message. Their ultimate purpose was to reveal the greatness of the power and authority of God to the Egyptians (Ex 7:10–12:36) in order to bring Pharaoh and the Egyptians into subjection to God.” (Thy Kingdom Come)

Exodus 7:11  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.

  • called for the wise men and the sorcerers- Ge 41:8,38,39 Isa 19:11,12 47:12,13 Da 2:2,27 4:7-9 5:7,11 2Ti 3:8 Rev 19:20 
  • they also - Ex 7:22 8:7,18 De 13:1-3 Mt 24:24 Ga 3:1 Eph 4:14 2Th 2:9 Rev 13:11-15 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Pharaoh's "checkmate" -- Where checkmate in its original sense referred to the placing of an opponent’s king in an inescapable position and in a figurative sense to thwart or counter completely. How? By Pharaoh's "Magic Show."

Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers - Wise men (chakam) were described in Ge 41:8 when another Pharaoh called wise men to interpret his dreams and ended up calling Joseph "discerning and wise" (Ge 41:39). In calling on sorcerers Pharaoh calls in essence calls on Satan (his representatives, even as Moses was God's representative) the purveyor of the powers of darkness to reproduce the miracle. This is not a battle just between Pharaoh and Moses, but between Pharaoh's supporter Satan and Moses' God. This is the conflict of the ages. 

Sorcerers (03784)(kashaph) means to practice sorcery or magic. While the exact meaning of the word is obscure, it involved the use of supernatural powers that hardened hearts against the truth (Ex. 7:11). Those in Israel who used such powers were to be executed (Ex. 22:18). Judgment is promised against sorcerers when the Messiah returns (Mal. 3:5). "Sorcery is a religious act, as communication from the gods is sought. Further, sorcery is often associated with divination and with extispicy (reading various entrails of animals), a prime mode of divination. Extispicy requires cutting open the animal. Kāshaph occurs only in the Piel form, and five of its occurrences are substantive participles. The only finite verb form occurs in 2 Chr. 33:6, where Manasseh is accused of committing numerous sins, one of which is practicing sorcery. Otherwise, kāshaph occurs as a participle meaning "one who practices sorcery" or "sorcerer." The men or advisers that Pharaoh summoned to compete against Aaron were called sorcerers (Exo. 7:11). A similar arrangement is found later in Babylon when king Nebuchadnezzar summoned sorcerers along with magicians to interpret his dream (Da. 2:2). In the end, only God's servant, Daniel (like Joseph), was able to provide the king with the proper interpretation (cf. Da 2:14-45). Sorcerers were not to be allowed in Israel, and God's judgment would be against them. The command in Exo. 22:18 is, "You shall not allow a sorceress to live [in Israel]," is once again delivered to the Israelites in Mal. 3:5 (cf. Deut. 18:10). In fact, many of the commands of Mal. 3:5 reflect the commands of Exo. 22:18-24 (e.g., commands not to oppress the widow, the orphan or the alien). This intertextuality validates the Lord's claim in 3:6, "For I, the Lord, do not change." (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Kashaph - practiced sorcery(1), sorcerer(1), sorcerers(3), sorceress(1). Exod. 7:11; Exod. 22:18; Deut. 18:10; 2 Chr. 33:6; Dan. 2:2; Mal. 3:5

And they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts - Note the source of their power was their secret arts, while the source of Aaron and Moses' power was their Sovereign God

Paul writes "Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose (anthistemi - used in Eph 6:13+) the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. (2 Ti 3:8+)

Comment Jannes and Jambres are not mentioned in Exodus but Jewish tradition identified them as those who opposed Moses in Exodus 7:11. See Jannes and Jambres - Wikipedia,\

Constable - These were not sleight-of-hand artists but wise men who were evidently members of the priestly caste (cf. Ge 41:8). The power of their demonic gods lay in their “secret arts” (Ex 7:11). They were able to do miracles in the power of Satan (1 Cor. 10:20; cf. Mt. 24:24; 2 Th 2:9,10; Rev. 13:13–14). The superiority of the Israelites’ God is clear in the superiority of Aaron’s serpent over those of the Egyptian magicians (Ex 7:12). The rod again represented regal authority and implied that Yahweh, not Pharaoh, was sovereign (cf. Ex 4:2–5).

John Hannah - But when they did this Pharaoh's magicians duplicated the feat by their secret arts, probably miracles empowered by Satan, not merely some sleight-of-hand trickery. Satan is able to perform "all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders" (2 Th 2:9) that deceive (2 Th 2:10; Rev. 13:11-15; cf. Mt. 24:24). (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Guzik on they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same - Apparently, this wasn’t mere magic; the enchantments of the Egyptian magicians were examples of dark, demonic power showing itself in what at least appeared to be miracles. Miracles—or at least apparent miracles—are part of Satan’s arsenal. (Read 2 Th 2:9,10).  This means that miracles can prove that something is supernatural, but they cannot prove that something is true.

Driver adds that "Magic flourished in ancient Egypt; and many magical formulae are known to us from the inscriptions."

Samuel Driver - The Egyptian magicians do the same. The art of serpent-charming is indigenous in the East: there are allusions to it in Ps. 58:5, Jer. 8:17, Eccl. 10:11; and it is practised in Egypt to the present day. Modern Egyptian serpent-charmers possess an extraordinary power over serpents, drawing them forth, for instance, by noises made with the lips, from their hiding-places, and by pressure applied to the neck throwing them into such a state of hypnotic rigidity that they can be held as rods by the tip of the tail (Lane, Mod. Eg., ch. 20, in ed. 1871, ii. 93 f.; DB. iii. 889a; EB. iv. 4394: see further references in Di.). The serpent commonly used for the purpose is a species of cobra. As Di., however, remarks, we hear elsewhere only of serpents becoming rods, not of rods becoming serpents: the latter, a also the swallowing up of the magicians’ rods by Aaron’s rod, is ‘peculiar to the Hebrew story (Sage).’

NET says magicians "seem to have been the keepers of Egypt’s religious and magical texts, the sacred scribes."

Believer's Study Bible - Though the identity of these Egyptians is not mentioned, the names were evidently preserved in the oral history of Israel, and a form of them is very possibly given in 2 Ti 3:8 as Jannes and Jambres. Egyptian magicians had long ago mastered the art of inflicting a temporary paralysis on a cobra, making him appear stiff and rodlike. However, their "rods" were swallowed up by the "rod" of Aaron, which should have been a message to Pharaoh of the direction of events for the coming days (v. 12). The magicians were able to copy each of the first few miracles (Ex 7:22; Ex 8:7; Ex 9:11) until the plague of lice (Ex 8:18, 19). This suggests that the miracles gradually increased in difficulty and/or severity. This should teach us that something that appears to be the work of God may really be the work of Satan (2 Th 2:8-12). In order to be a genuine work of God, an experience must be associated with the proclamation of truth and must bring glory to God.

MacArthur on secret arts - By means of their “witchcraft,” the wise men, sorcerers, and magicians demonstrated their abilities to perform a similar feat. Whether by optical illusion, sleight of hand, or learned physical manipulation of a snake, all sufficiently skillful enough to totally fool Pharaoh and his servants, or by evil supernaturalism, the evaluation given in the inspired record is simply “they also … did the same.” However, the turning of rods into snakes, and later turning water into blood (Ex 7:22) and calling forth frogs (Ex 8:7), were not the same as trying to create gnats from inanimate dust (Ex 8:18–19). At that point, the magicians had no option but to confess their failure. (MSB)

NET on secret arts - The term בְּלַהֲטֵיהֶם (bélahatehem) means “by their secret arts”; it is from לוּט (lut, “to enwrap”). The Greek renders the word “by their magic”; Targum Onqelos uses “murmurings” and “whispers,” and other Jewish sources “dazzling display” or “demons” (see further B. Jacob, Exodus, 253–54). They may have done this by clever tricks, manipulation of the animals, or demonic power. Many have suggested that Aaron and the magicians were familiar with an old trick in which they could temporarily paralyze a serpent and then revive it. But here Aaron’s snake swallows up their snakes.

Driver on secret arts - with their usual mystic words or movements.

Exodus 7:12  For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.

  • but Aaron's - Ex 8:18,19 9:11 Ac 8:9-13 13:8-11 19:19,20 1Jn 4:4 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents - This is one of those scriptures where it is best to avoid dogmatism and argument. The staffs of the magicians are said to have become snakes just as in did the staff of Aaron. Some believe that this can be explained only by assuming that either (1) the magicians themselves had power to create life (WHICH I CONSIDER VERY UNLIKELY); or (2) on this occasion God gave them such power. Preferably it would seem that (3) the rods of the magicians were actually rigid snakes which, when cast upon the ground, were seen to be what they really were - snakes. Snakes were, and still are, a common element in the paraphernalia of Egyptian magicians. Compare Ex 4:2. As here the serpents, symbols of Satan who had the power of death (Heb 2:14; Rev 12:9), are swallowed up, so in resurrection death will be "swallowed up in victory" (1 Cor 15:54). Cp. Nu 17:8. Victory was won by our Lord Jesus Christ through His death at Calvary for sin, and by His resurrection.

Thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 15:57).

But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs - Notice Moses does not say Aaron's snake swallowed up the magician's snakes. It we can take this literally, then for a staff to swallow up another staff is even more of a miracle was a staff is inanimate and has not capability to eat anything! 

Charles Spurgeon preached a wonderful message titled The Power of Aaron’s Rod, in which he used this as an example of the truth that God’s power is greater than anything else, and can “swallow up” our idols and sins and such.

Rod Mattoon - These men duplicated the miracle of Moses, most likely through Satanic powers. This is possible. (See 2 Timothy 3:8)  Satan has the ability to imitate parts of God's work in order to lead others astray. He has the ability to offer all kinds of counterfeits, miracles, signs, and wonders to deceive mankind. Satan likes to simulate, to duplicate, to imitate Divine deeds and works. He does this in the spiritual realm in order to deceive mankind into rejecting God's truth and embracing error. Here, it was done to keep Pharaoh from believing God, and Pharaoh took the bait and embraced unbelief as we will see more about shortly....The fact that Aaron's rod swallowed up the magician's demonstrates the power of God is greater than Satan's power. There is a great message here. Aaron's rod will later blossom. Life will come from death. His rod is a type of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the victor over the old Serpent, the Dragon... Satan. One day, God's power will totally swallow up and destroy Satan once and for all. Good riddens! Jesus arose, conquering death, sin, and Satan. It is most encouraging to our faith to know that when God so pleases, He can swallow up any of His enemies. The enemies of God may put on quite a show and deceive many, but God can take care of the best the enemy has to offer.

Paul speaks of Satan's power to counterfeit -  

Then that lawless one (ANTICHRIST) will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming (Rev 19:16-21); 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason (WHAT REASON? THEY REJECT THE TRUTH ABOUT GOD! THEY ARE THEN VULNERABLE TO ERROR!)  God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false (THIS IS RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE - GOD GIVES THEM OVER TO THEIR SIN AND UNBELIEF, A FRIGHTENING PLACE TO BE!), (2 Th 2:8-11, cf 2 Cor 11:13-15, Mt 24:24)

Spurgeon - Morning and Evening - 

But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.”   —Exodus 7:12

This incident is an instructive emblem of the sure victory of the divine handiwork over all opposition. Whenever a divine principle is cast into the heart, though the devil may fashion a counterfeit, and produce swarms of opponents, as sure as ever God is in the work, it will swallow up all its foes. If God’s grace takes possession of a man, the world’s magicians may throw down all their rods; and every rod may be as cunning and poisonous as a serpent, but Aaron’s rod will swallow up their rods. The sweet attractions of the cross will woo and win the man’s heart, and he who lived only for this deceitful earth will now have an eye for the upper spheres, and a wing to mount into celestial heights. When grace has won the day the worldling seeks the world to come. The same fact is to be observed in the life of the believer. What multitudes of foes has our faith had to meet! Our old sins—the devil threw them down before us, and they turned to serpents. What hosts of them! Ah, but the cross of Jesus destroys them all. Faith in Christ makes short work of all our sins. Then the devil has launched forth another host of serpents in the form of worldly trials, temptations, unbelief; but faith in Jesus is more than a match for them, and overcomes them all. The same absorbing principle shines in the faithful service of God! With an enthusiastic love for Jesus difficulties are surmounted, sacrifices become pleasures, sufferings are honours. But if religion is thus a consuming passion in the heart, then it follows that there are many persons who profess religion but have it not; for what they have will not bear this test. Examine yourself, my reader, on this point. Aaron’s rod proved its heaven-given power. Is your religion doing so? If Christ be anything he must be everything. O rest not till love and faith in Jesus be the master passions of your soul!

Exodus 7:13  Yet Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

  • Ex 7:4 4:21 8:15 10:1,20,27 14:17 De 2:30 Zec 7:11,12 Ro 1:28 2:5 Heb 3:7,8,13 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Yet Pharaoh's heart was hardened (See summary Table of Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart) - Here the text does not distinguish who produced the hardening, Pharaoh or God. Do you see the "definition" of a hardened heart? It is a heart that refuses to listen to God (or God's representative)! And remember that listen means more than simply hear words spoken, but includes a response to the words spoken, a heart response that is willing to obey what is heard. As James 1:22+ says "prove (command = present imperative   see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." And to make sure we understand Pharaoh's heart condition, the next passage adds "stubborn!" 

Note that Moses uses two words for hardening the heart. The less frequently used word is the one used here which is chazaq meaning strengthened and in context hardened. The more common word used is kabad which has the basic meaning of to be heavy like "heavy with sin." When used of Pharaoh's heart it means be morally stubborn regarding a change of action or attitude. (Ex 8:15; Ex 8:32; Ex 9:7; Ex 9:34; Ex 10:1; Ex 14:4; Ex 14:17) Note it is somewhat ironic that the verb kabad is used here for hardening but is used later for honoring (first God, then parents in  Ex 14:18; Ex 20:12)!

Driver says that when chazaq is used (Ex 7:13 = "hardened" and Ex 7:14 = "is stubborn"), it indicates a will or attitude that is unyielding and firm, but when kabad is used, it stresses the will as being slow to move, unimpressionable, slow to be affected (Moses used the noun form kabed to describe his tongue in Ex 4:10). 

Rod Mattoon - Pharaoh's heart had become hard because of sin and a hard heart will not be receptive to God's revelations, but will rebel against the decrees of the Lord. Pharaoh's heart hardened as God had said. The Lord knew this was going to happen. Pharaoh focused on the miracles, not the message. Matching miracles was a test of power and credentials. God's Word is to be the basis of faith, beloved, not miracles. This error that Pharaoh made is the same one that many are making today. Mark it down, if a miracle of God takes place, the miracle will not lead people to contradict or disobey God's Word. It will not rob God of His glory. We are not to be on a quest for supernatural miracles to get in touch with God. We have His supernatural Word that can speak to our heart if we will let it speak to us. God's Word can help us go from coldness to boldness.

And he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said - Note the two effects of his hard heart - (1) Pharaoh did not listen to Moses and Aaron. (2) God's prophecy was fulfilled, which would (should) serve to fortify their faith, one of the great values of studying Bible prophecy (something many in the church seem to shy away from as too divisive, too confusing, etc). The text does not say specifically what Pharaoh did not listen to, but if we compare God's earlier words (and the words in Ex 7:14, especially Ex 7:16), it undoubtedly was a call "to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land." (Ex 7:2, 7:4+, cf Ex 5:1, 3+

A Few Passages related to a hard heart...

Proverbs 28:14 How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. (AS DID PHARAOH!)

Proverbs 29:1  A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. 

Hebrews 3:13  But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.


Romans 1:28   And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

Rod Mattoon - A man was driving down a bumpy country road when he saw a bag of cement beside the road. It appeared to have fallen off a delivery truck as it hit one of the bumps in the rough road. Being a person who did not like to see anything wasted, the man stopped to pick up the lost bag of cement. When he reached down to pick up this heavy bag, to his surprise, he discovered it was not soft and limber, as he had expected, but had solidified into an immovable piece of cement.
Beloved, often our lives are like that bag of cement. They take on shapes that were not intended and become hardened in that shape. That bag of cement was meant to become a part of some beautiful, useful structure but, because it did not reach its place of service, because it was not used for its intended purpose, it became a useless rock in the form of a bag of cement. God wants to make something beautiful of your life. Don't let His will and purpose be thwarted by spiritual neglect or a bump in the road of life. Don't let bitterness and anger toward the Lord, rob you of His wonderful blessings.
When we resist the Lord, we become cold. As the sun can soften butter, it can also harden clay. God's Word can soften or harden you based on your response to it. As God was squeezing Pharaoh, revealing what was in his heart, He will do the same to us. When we are judged by the Lord, we will be seen as we really are with no camouflage at all.


Hardened - Study all 18 instances in Exodus which mention the hardening of the heart of Pharaoh. Notice which are prophecy, which are ambiguous as to the hardening agent, which are caused by Jehovah and which reflect the choice of Pharaoh's self-will. I think you will find this an interesting exercise as you wrestle with this subject of God hardening a person's heart. 

Ex 4:21+ The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.

Ex 7:3+ But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.

Ex 7:13+ Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Ex 7:22+ 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.

Ex 8:15+ But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Ex 8:19+ Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said. 

Ex 8:32+ But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.

Ex 9:7+ Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

Ex 9:12+ And the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses. 

Ex 9:34+ But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.

Ex 9:35+ Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not let the sons of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses.

Ex 10:1+ Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them,

Ex 10:20+ But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go.

Ex 10:27+  But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go.

Ex 11:10+  Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.

Ex 14:4+ “Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. 

Ex 14:8+ The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly.

Ex 14:17+ “As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.


  • 6x Jehovah definitely hardened Pharaoh’s heart.
  • 4x Jehovah gave a prophecy (I will).
  • 5x the agent hardening is not stated.
  • 3x Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
  • The first definite mention of one hardening Pharaoh’s heart is Pharaoh (Ex 8:15).

Exodus 7:14  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go.

  • Pharaoh's heart is stubborn - Ex 8:15 10:1,20,27 Zec 7:12 
  • He refuses to let the people go - Ex 4:23 Ex 8:2 9:2 10:4 Isa 1:20 Jer 8:5 9:6 Heb 12:25 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Egyptian "Scales" of Justice
(See notes below)


Stubborn means refusing to change one's mind or course of action despite pressure and good reasons given to do so. One who is stubborn is unyielding, resolute, marked by tenacious unwillingness to yield, and unreasonably immovable in purpose or will

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go - Literally his heart "has become heavy." The Septuagint translates kabed; (heavy) with the verb bareo meaning to be weighed down, burdened and is in the perfect tense indicating this is the persistent state of Pharaoh's heart. It is hard, will remain hard and will yet become even harder as the plagues unfold! He was tenaciously unwilling, marked by tenacious unwillingness to yield. A hard heart is a stubborn heart. In this case it refuses God's will which is to release Israel, God's people. This passage echoes the words of God to Pharaoh in Ex 4:23+ “So I said to you, ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.”’” 

John Currid has a fascinating note on the concept of a "heavy heart" - A third Hebrew term is now engaged to present the nature of Pharaoh’s heart. It is kābēd, which in its most basic sense means ‘to be heavy’. The term is used in a literal quantitative sense: for example, Absalom’s hair (2 Sa 14:26) and Moses’ hands (Ex 17:12) were both heavy. But kābēd may also bear a qualitative sense—that is, that something is weighty, or full of a particular quality or trait. Therefore, this verse is saying that Pharaoh’s heart is weighted down with something. But what is it? The idea that ‘Pharaoh’s heart is heavy’ is an intriguing expression in view of the Egyptian background of the New Kingdom period in which the exodus occurred. At this time the Egyptians believed that when someone died the person went to judgment in the underworld. The individual’s heart—which was thought to be the very essence of the person—was weighed on the scales of truth. On one pan sat the feather of truth and righteousness; on the other lay the heart of the deceased. If the heart was heavy or weighty with misdeeds, the person was unjust, condemned and thrown to the Devouress to be eaten. If the heart was pure, the deceased would go to the Egyptian afterlife. In the exodus account the verdict that Pharaoh’s heart was heavy reflects the concept of his heart being filled with iniquity and injustice. His dealings with Israel, and for that matter his own character in general, were unrighteous. God was simply judging Pharaoh as one with a heavy, sinful heart! (A Study Commentary on Exodus - Volume 1)

Stubborn (03515)(kabed; note there is considerable overlap with Strong's # 03513 - kabad) verb meaning to weigh heavily, to be heavy, to be made heavy, to make dull, to let weigh down, to harden, to multiply. In some contexts = to honor (1 Chr 4:9, 1 Chr 11:21, 25). It is used literally of Eli who was "old and heavy" (1 Sa 4:18), of Absalom's hair (heavy - 2 Sa 14:26). The first use in Ge 12:10 = famine was severe. Ge 13:2 (Ge 41:31, 43:1, 47:13) = rich in livestock. Ge 50:9 = great company. Ge 50:10 = sorrowful lamentation. Ex 4:10 = slow of speech and slow of tongue. Ex 7:14 = stubborn. Ex 8:24 = great swarms. Ex 9:3 = servere pestilence. Ex 9:18 (Ex 9:24) = heavy hail. Ex 10:14 = numerous (locusts). Ex 12:38 = large number of livestock. Ex 17:12 = Moses' hands were heavy. Ex 18:18 = task is too heavy. Ex 19:16 = thick cloud. Nu 11:14 = too burdensome (people). Nu 20:20 = heavy force. Isa 1:4 = People weighed down with iniquity. Ezek. 3:5; Ezek. 3:6 = difficult language. 1 Ki 12:4 (1 Ki 12:11, 2 Chr 10:10, 14) = a heavy yoke (taxation by Solomon). 

Kabed - 42x in 40v - burdensome(1), difficult(2), great(4), grievous(1), heavier(1), heavy(11), huge(1), large(4), large number(1), much(1), numerous(1), rich(1), severe(7), slow(2), sorrowful(1), stubborn(1), thick(1), weighed down(1).  Gen. 12:10; Gen. 13:2; Gen. 41:31; Gen. 43:1; Gen. 47:4; Gen. 47:13; Gen. 50:9; Gen. 50:10; Gen. 50:11; Ex 4:10; Ex 7:14; Ex 8:24; Ex 9:3; Ex 9:18; Ex 9:24; Ex 10:14; Ex 12:38; Ex 17:12; Ex 18:18; Ex. 19:16; Nu 11:14; Nu 20:20; 1 Sa 4:18; 2 Sa 14:26; 1 Ki. 3:9; 1 Ki. 10:2; 1 Ki. 12:4; 1 Ki. 12:11; 2 Ki. 6:14; 2 Ki. 18:17; 2 Chr. 9:1; 2 Chr. 10:4; 2 Chr. 10:11; Ps. 38:4 = my iniquities are gone over my head; As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me. ; Prov. 27:3; Isa. 1:4; Isa. 32:2; Isa. 36:2; Ezek. 3:5; Ezek. 3:6 

Exodus 7:15 "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.

  • as he is going out to the water, - Ex 2:5 8:20 Eze 29:3 
  • the staff - Ex 7:10 4:2-4 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


The first recorded miracle of Jesus was water to wine (probably red wine) (Jn 2:1-11+), but here Jehovah's first miracle is water to red blood! God is going to respond to Pharaoh's stubborn (heavy) heart with a command to confront the commander of Egypt. Moses is not the same man he was in Ex 4:10, 13! Throughout the 10 plagues, when he confronts Pharaoh (4 he inflicts without warning), he does so obediently and courageously. He has come to truly know Jehovah as the LORD Who is able to perform what He commands Moses to carry out (Ex 6:1-2+). While section marks the first of 10 plagues, note that the word plague is used only in Ex 9:14, Ex 11:1 and Ex 12:13. 

Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water - Moses and Aaron receive a simple, clear command from God - GO!. This one involves timing (must occur in the morning), so immediate obedience is required. Do we realize that when God tells us to do something, delay is not only disobedience but may even be "disaster" in that we miss the "appointment" (or opportunity - cf Eph 5:16NET+) which God had intended or prepared for us to walk in (cf Eph 2:10+). Moses and Aaron were not to miss this special appointment, one which would set in play the most dramatic confrontation between good and evil in the entire Old Testament, really in all the history of the world! God grant us Your grace to not miss Your "pre-planned" appointments you have foreordained for each of us to walk in for Your glory (Mt 5:16+). In Jesus' Name. Amen. 

THOUGHT - What attribute of God is clearly portrayed in this passage? The Providence of God. Remember that even the English word gives us some sense of God providence For it is derived from the Latin providere which is composed of pro = beforehand + videre = to see, which gives us a good picture of the meaning of providence - God sees beforehand! Obviously when applied to God, providence is closely related to God's omniscience (He sees all and knows all at all times). The distinction is that in His Providence, God not only sees but does! In other words, God provides for the future which He alone can see! This transcendent truth will (or should) provide comfort to His children. However, the doctrine of divine providence might arouse anger or even frighten you, depending on what you believe about God the Father and Jesus His Son. Although theologians wax long and eloquent on this topic, in simple terms, the pivotal questions are "Is God able?" and "Do I believe?"

In the morning - Moses had three morning meetings with Pharaoh - (1) Ex 7:15+ to warn of first plague against the Nile River, (2) Ex 8:20+ to warn of fourth plague of swarms of insects and (3) Ex 9:13+ apparently in the palace where Moses gives a long warning to Pharaoh and announces the sixth plague, heavy hail (Ex 9:18+). 

Mattoon - One reason why the Pharaoh may have been at the river was to worship it. The Nile River was worshiped as a god. It represented the chief god of Egypt. Hapi or Apis, the bull god, was the god of the Nile. Isis was the goddess of the Nile. Khnum was the ram god and was the guardian of the Nile. The Nile River was considered as the body and blood of Osiris himself. The yearly flooding symbolized the miraculous rebirth of Osiris, god of earth and vegetation according to the Egyptians.

J Ligon Duncan emphasizes the parallel with Pharaoh's daughter finding Moses at the Nile and now Moses encountering Pharaoh on the Nile ("What goes around comes around!") - We don’t know exactly why Pharaoh was there. It’s a little surprising to find Pharaoh at the banks of the Nile, but perhaps there was some sort of morning ritual connected with the religion that circled around the Nile. The Nile was considered divine, and perhaps Pharaoh was out participating in this ritual. But the fact that Moses meets Pharaoh there is extremely important. Remember that once upon a time the daughter of Pharaoh had met Moses on the banks of the Nile, and her actions would forever change the future of the life of Moses. Now, Moses meets Pharaoh on the banks of the Nile, and his actions will not only forever change the life of Pharaoh, but of Pharaoh’s household. The language here deliberately mirrors the language of Exodus 2:3-9+, when Pharaoh’s daughter meets Moses and discovers him and draws him out of the water on the banks of the Nile.

John Currid comments "The text does not tell us why Pharaoh was going to the water in the morning, although that act seems to have been habitual (cf. 8:20). Perhaps he was merely going for a morning stroll, or maybe even using the Nile for a bath (cf. Ex 2:5). However, it may have been a daily ceremonial or ritual act to pay homage to the god of the Nile. The commencement of the plagues with the act of striking of the Nile waters, and the god personified in them, adds further support to this theological interpretation of Pharaoh’s activity. The language of this verse is reminiscent of Exodus 2:3–4. In that episode, Moses’ sister ‘stood along the bank of the Nile’ to see what would happen to the child that had been placed in the basket. The reason for the literary parallel is to point out that both scenes serve as the moment of ‘incipient redemption’. In the first episode Moses is soon to be delivered from death; in the second the entire nation of Israel is about to be redeemed out of Egypt, the land of death." (Ibid)

And station yourself to meet him on the bank of the Nile - The implication of station yourself is that they are in place (waiting) before the Pharaoh arrives. Moses and Aaron were walking fully by faith and not by sight! And indeed their faith was now walking! Faith is an "action verb" for true, saving faith always acts! Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone! 

MacArthur -  Three times Moses would meet him at this early morning rendezvous to warn of plagues, i.e., the first, fourth, and seventh (Ex 8:20; Ex 9:13)

Wiersbe - The first nine plagues divide into three triads, each triad climaxing with a plague that wasn’t announced. The third (gnats), sixth (boils), and ninth (darkness) plagues came without warning; all the others were preceded by an announcement. Pharaoh had no right to complain because God told him what He was going to do....The longer Pharaoh resisted God, the more serious the judgments became. The first three plagues were distressful (water to blood, frogs, gnats); the second three were painful and costly (flies, death of the livestock, boils); and the last four were dangerous and destructive (hail, locusts, darkness, and the death of the firstborn). The longer sinners resist God’s will and refuse to hear His Word, the “louder” He has to speak to them through His judgments.(Be Delivered)

And you shall take in your hand the staff that was turned into a serpent - Here the word for serpent is again nachash, the same word used in Ex 4:3 and not the word tannin used in Ex 7:9. Clearly the simple staff is taking center stage in this drama of the ages, for the staff was a symbol of the power of Jehovah.

Staff (rod, tribe)(04294matteh, mattah - Uses in Exodus - Ex 4:2; Ex 4:4; Ex 4:17; Ex 4:20; Ex 7:9; Ex 7:10; Ex 7:12; Ex 7:15; Ex 7:17; Ex 7:19; Ex 7:20; Ex 8:5; Ex 8:16; Ex 8:17; Ex 9:23; Ex 10:13; Ex 14:16; Ex 17:5; Ex 17:9; Ex 31:2; Ex 31:6; Ex 35:30; Ex 35:34; Ex 38:22; Ex 38:23;

Thompson summarizes the plagues...However, when we carefully analyze these plagues, we may notice that they appear to come in three sets of three, with the final plague being unique in itself and is specifically identified as the “one more plague” (Ex. 11:1):

1) The account of the first of the three plagues series always begins with God giving a reason to Moses for the plague–Ex. 7:17; 8:22; 9:14.

2) The account of the first of the three plagues series always starts in the morning –Ex 7:15; 8:20; 9:13

3) The last plague of the three plagues series comes on Pharaoh without any warning –Es 8:16; 9:8; 10:21

4) The first set of three plagues may have affected both the Egyptians and Israelites, but all the other plagues only affected the Egyptians .

(ED: The first three may not have impacted Israel - Why? The first plague has no record of Israelites digging for water. The First, Second and Third plagues are stated to be  over the "land of Egypt" but not the "land of Goshen" mentioned in Ex 8:22. This is not hard evidence but suggestive of the fact that Israel was protected from all 10 plagues.)

Three of the three plagues actually involve the Nile River–Plague #1 (Ex 7:15), Plague #2 (Ex 8:3) and Plague #3 (Ex 8:20). The reason for this is that the Egyptians mythologically believed that the Nile River was a sacred “god.” Not only was the snake worshipped by the Egyptians, but so was the Nile. In fact, many of their invented “gods” were associated with the Nile River. For example, Khnum was considered to be the deity who guarded the Nile. Hapi, who was depicted by a fat man with the breasts of women which supposedly represented fertility and nourishment, was supposedly the spirit of the Nile. One of the more famous deities was “Osiris” who was supposedly the deity of the underworld with the Nile supposedly his bloodstream. Well, God was about to shatter their view that the Nile was a deity. Their invented Hapi would not end up happy. (Sermon)

Rod Mattoon gives us one way to summarize the 10 plagues...These ten plagues are grouped into three cycles of three plagues each, with the tenth being a climatic judgment. A look at these plagues reveals interesting insights, contrasts, and comparisons.

  • Plagues 1, 4, and 7 begin each cycle and are introduced by the words, "in the morning." (Ex 7:15; 8:20; 9:13)
  • In cycle one, the three plagues were loathsome, affecting the comfort of the Egyptians. Israel was afflicted too. Aaron's rod was used in these plagues of bloody water, frog infestation, gnats or a mosquito pestilence.
  • In cycle two, the plagues were bothersome, affecting their possessions such as land, cattle, and themselves. No rod or staff was used and only the Egyptians were affected. The plagues consisted of a pestilence of flies, the death of the livestock, and bothersome boils on their bodies.
  • In cycle three, the plagues were natural disasters bringing desolation and death to the Egyptians. Moses' staff was used and in the final plague, the firstborn died. God knew how to get the attention of those concerned. He messed with their comfort, their possessions, and their health. The longer sinners resist God's will and refuse to hear His Word, the "louder" He has to speak to them through His judgments.
  • In all three cycles, a warning was issued in the first two judgments of each cycle, but no warning was given before the final judgment of each cycle.
  • These ten plagues may have occurred over a period of at least nine months. The Nile rises in July and August (Plague 1). The barley ripens in January (Plague 7). The east winds bring locust in March and April (Plague 8). The Passover is in April (Plague 10).

What are the Purposes of the Plagues?

1. First, they reveal the omnipotence of God and the impotence of Pharaoh who was considered a god by the Egyptians. God was trying to get the king to let His people go from the land.

2. The plagues demonstrate God's protective power in shielding His people and that He cares for us.

Exodus 8:19-Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.

3. They were a divine visitation of God's wrath and a punishment of Pharaoh and the Egyptians for the cruel treatment of the Jews.

Exodus 10:16-Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you.

4. The plagues were also a judgment of God upon the demons and fake gods of Egypt.

Exodus 12:12-For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.

Numbers 33:4-For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the Lord had smitten among them: upon their gods also the Lord executed judgments.

5. The judgments were a solemn warning to other nations that God would curse those who curse Israel.

Genesis 12:3-And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Joshua 2:8-9-And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; [9] And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.

1 Samuel 4:8-Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these are the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness.

6. The plagues were a series of testings for Israel that were designed to soften their hearts and create a desire to leave Egypt. They had been in Egypt for 400 years, a country steeped in idolatry. God would use the plagues to deliver His people.

Deuteronomy 4:33-35-... Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? [34] Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? [35] Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.

Exodus 15:11-Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
This was the result of the plagues and their departure.

7. The judgments were designed to strengthen the faith of Moses. He needed faith for the wilderness journey that was ahead of him.

James 1:3-Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

Unbelief puts our circumstances between us and God, but faith puts God between us and our circumstances.

When we look at the plagues, we will also note that many of the judgments and events in Egypt will take place again during the Tribulation period, described in the book of Revelation. In spite of all the plagues, none of them softened Pharaoh's heart. He let them go after the death of the firstborn, only to pursue Israel later to his own death. Pharaoh was a proud man.

James Montgomery Boice sets the stage for the 10 plagues that begin in this passage writing...

The ancient Egyptians had about eighty major gods and goddesses. A lot of minor deities clustered around the others, but those eighty gods and goddesses were themselves clustered around the three main forces in Egyptian life: the Nile, the land, and the sun. The ancient historian Herodotus called Egypt “the gift of the Nile.” If it weren’t for the Nile, Egypt would have been part of the desert that stretches across North Africa to the west and across the Gulf of Suez to the Arabian Desert to the east. In ancient times the Nile overflowed its banks every year, depositing in that river valley the wonderful soil that had been carried down from central Africa and making Egypt one of the most fertile lands of the ancient world. Combined with the rich land and the water, the brilliant sun produced marvelous crops.

The plagues were directed against these three forces and against the gods and goddesses of Egypt that were grouped around them. The first two plagues were directed against the gods and goddesses of the Nile and everything associated with the Nile. Four plagues were directed against the gods and goddesses of the land. The final four plagues were directed against the sky and everything associated with the sky. Even the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn, was against the sky. Pharaoh was considered the earthly incarnation of the sun god Ra, the most powerful force in the sky. His firstborn son would have been the next incarnation. (The Life of Moses: God's First Deliverer of Israel)

The Ten Plagues on Egypt


1 BLOOD (Ex 7:20+)


Pharaoh hardened (Ex 7:22+)

2 FROGS (Ex 8:6+)


Pharaoh begs relief, makes promise (Ex 8:8+)
then is hardened (Ex 8:15+)

3 GNATS (Ex 8:17+)

Hathor, Nut

Pharaoh hardened (Ex 8:19+)

4 FLIES (Ex 8:24+)

Shu, Isis

Pharaoh bargains (Ex 8:28+) but is hardened (Ex 8:32+)

5 PESTILENCE (Ex 9:6+)


Pharaoh hardened (Ex 9:7+)

6 BOILS (Ex 9:10+)


Pharaoh hardened (Ex 9:12+)

7 HAIL (Ex 9:23+)


Pharaoh begs relief (Ex 9:27+), makes promise (Ex 9:28+) then is hardened (Ex 9:35+)

8 LOCUSTS (Ex 10:13+)


Pharaoh bargains (Ex 10:11+), begs relief (Ex 10:17+), but is hardened (Ex 10:20+)

9 DARKNESS (Ex 10:22+)


Pharaoh bargains (Ex 10:24+), but is hardened (Ex 10:27+)



Pharaoh beg Israel to leave (Ex 12:31-33+)

Exodus 7:16  "You shall 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."

  • The LORD, the God of the Hebrews - Ex 3:18 Ex 5:3 9:1,13 10:3 1Sa 4:6-9 
  • Let My people go - Ex 8:1,20 13:15 14:5 Isa 45:13 Jer 50:33 Ac 4:21-23 
  • that they may serve Me - Ex 3:12,18 5:1-3 9:1 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

You shall say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you - Moses and Aaron are first to be crystal clear on Who it is that has sent them. Pharaoh might be taken a little aback as he has already rejected their request and ratcheted up the pressure on the people. And yet here they are again, and this time the meeting ground is not his palace but God's creation, the Nile River, the life blood of the nation of Egypt. The timing and the location have been specifically selected by Jehovah to have maximum impact on hard hearted Pharaoh. 

Currid on sent me to you - A play on words appears in this verse. The verb describing the activity of God in sending Moses to Pharaoh is to ‘send out’. (shalach) This is the same verb that God employs in commanding Pharaoh to ‘Send out my people’ (Let My people go). The latter form, however, is a Piel imperative. The Piel stem is properly understood to mean the putting of something into action.

God of the Hebrews occurs 6 times in the Old Testament all in Exodus - Exod. 3:18; Exod. 5:3; Exod. 7:16; Exod. 9:1; Exod. 9:13; Exod. 10:3

Saying, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness - Let My people go is "‘Send out my people’ (see Currid's note above)

Notice (1) although Aaron (or Moses) speak the words, the words are God's very words. (2) God sees Israel as My people, not slaves of Pharaoh (and even as they belong to Him so too even mores, every believer belongs to Him - 1 Cor 6:19,20+(3) Let go is not a suggestion but a command from the Most High God! The Septuagint (Lxx) translates "let go" (shalach) with the verb exapostello in the aorist imperative which is a command to DO IT NOW! DO NOT DELAY(4) God's purpose in  context is that His people would serve Him. For serve the NLT has "worship" where the Hebrew verb abad (usually translated serve but occasionally worship) is translated in the Septuagint (Lxx) with the verb latreuo which means to serve in the sense of carrying out religious duties with a spirit of worship.

Let My people go, that they may serve Me - This command is repeated some 9 times (Ex 5:1+; Ex 7:16+; Ex 8:1+; Ex 8:20+; Ex 8:21+; Ex 9:1+; Ex 9:13+; Ex 10:3+; Ex 10:4+) Play Louis Armstrong - Go Down Moses - Let My People Go

THOUGHT - Clearly God wants a repetition of the people's response in Exodus 4:31+ when "they bowed low and worshiped." And this is what Jehovah desires for all of us who have been rescued from slavery to sin and Satan and transferred into Kingdom of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ (Col 1:12-13+) -- that now we would daily "present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is our spiritual service of worship (noun latreia)." (Ro 12:1+) Let me ask you (even as I must ask myself), am I "worshiping" only on Sunday (and doing so because that is what is expected) or am I expectantly, adoringly, gratefully, reverentially worshipping Jehovah every day? In Romans 12:1 the verb "present" is in the active voice which practically means we each need to make a conscious, volitional, willful choice to worship! Living a life of worship won't happen on a whim, but only by our will! May God's Spirit initiate and energize (cf Php 2:13NLT+) such a spirit in each of our hearts, for the glory of the Lamb. Amen

Let My people go occurs 9x in 9v (and only in Exodus) -  Ex 5:1; Ex 7:16; Ex 8:1; Ex 8:20; Ex 8:21; Ex 9:1; Ex 9:13; Ex 10:3; Ex 10:4

But behold, you have not listened until now - Note Moses adds a behold so that we will give special attention to this statement. ESV has "But so far, you have not obeyed." 

Behold (02009)(hinneh) is an interjection meaning behold, pay attention and is used to express strong feelings giving vividness to the scene that follows. Hinneh directs our mind to the text, imploring the reader to give it special attention. In short, the Spirit is trying to arrest our attention! Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"

Exodus 7:17  '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 will be turned to blood.

  • you shall know - Ex 7:5 Ex 5:2 Ex 6:7 1Sa 17:46,47 1Ki 20:28 2Ki 19:19 Ps 9:16 83:18 Eze 29:9 30:8,19 32:15 38:23 39:28 Da 4:17,32,37 5:21,23 
  • it will be turned to blood - Ex 1:22 Ex 4:9 Ps 78:44 Ps 105:29 Rev 8:8 Rev 16:3-6 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries



In Exodus 7:14-19 God reveals two specific purposes - (1)That He would be known, and (2) that His people would be free to worship (serve Him).


The deity that may have been "targeted" in this first salvo against the Nile River was the so-called god named Hapi

Hapi was the god of the annual flooding of the Nile in ancient Egyptian religion. The flood deposited rich silt (fertile soil) on the river's banks, allowing the Egyptians to grow crops.[1] Hapi was greatly celebrated among the Egyptians. Some of the titles of Hapi were "Lord of the Fish and Birds of the Marshes" and "Lord of the River Bringing Vegetation". Hapi is typically depicted as an androgynous figure with a big belly and large drooping breasts (ED: WHICH WOULD HAVE REFLECTED FERTILITY ASSOCIATED WITH THE ANNUAL NILE FLOODS), wearing a loincloth and ceremonial false beard.[2] (Wikipedia)

Recall that when Moses and Aaron made their first visit to Pharaoh, his reply was “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go.” (Ex 5:2) Here God says in essence I will help you know me by this first plague. In Ex 7:5 God had said it was also the Egyptians who would know Him when He stretched out His hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel. This statement indicates that "stretch out My hand on Egypt" encompasses all 10 of the plagues, because they were not allowed to go until the tenth plague.

Thus says the LORD, "By this you shall know that I am the LORD - By what? By the following sign (plague). And what was the purpose? The Pharaoh would know that Jehovah Alone is God, the great I Am. He would see that the true and living God, Jehovah, would definitively defeat the "great Khnum" the so-called god of the source of the Nile. And so God began His "attack" purposefully and directly against the life source of the entire nation of Egypt to demonstrate His power. In the ancient world when a nation would defeat another nation, the victorious general would place his foot on the neck of the defeated foe. In effect Jehovah had placed His foot on the impotent god Khnum, reminiscent of  David's prophecy of the Messiah-King in Psalm 110:1-2

(A Psalm of David.) The LORD (FATHER) says to my Lord (SON): "Sit at My right hand, Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet."
The LORD will stretch forth Thy strong scepter from Zion, saying, "Rule in the midst of Thine enemies.

Parallel Passages:

Exodus 1:22  Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive.” (THE NILE HAD BEEN USED BY PHARAOH TO TAKE LIFE OF HEBREW SONS).

Exodus 4:9  “But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.” (THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE A "PREVIEW" OF COMING ATTRACTIONS)

Psalm 78:43-44   When He performed His signs in Egypt And His marvels in the field of Zoan,  44 And turned their rivers to blood, And their streams, they could not drink

Psalm 105:26-29   He sent Moses His servant, And Aaron, whom He had chosen.  27 They performed His wondrous acts among them, And miracles in the land of Ham.  28 He sent darkness and made it dark; And they did not rebel against His words.  29 He turned their waters into blood And caused their fish to die

Behold (see above on hinneh), I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand and it will be turned to blood - Observe that Aaron (cf Ex 7:19) holds the staff, but God says "I will strike...with the staff." To strike the Nile is to strike the first blow at the very heart of Egypt's existence. If there was no Nile, there would be no Egypt! Aaron was God's instrument, His vessel of honor. What Aaron did, God did through him! Note that turned to blood means exactly that -- blood, not like blood or reddish colored water but literal blood! I am an pathologist and have dealt extensively for over 30 years with analyses and diagnoses related to blood, and yet I do not understand how God turned the water to blood, but I believe it without a shadow of a doubt, because God said it! He does not ask us to understand everything He does (after all He is Transcendent and Incomprehensible!) but He does ask us to believe! 

THOUGHT #1 - One is reminded of 2 Ti 2:21+ that each of God's bond-servants are to be "a vessel for honor, sanctified (set apart), useful to the Master, prepared for every good (God initiated,Spirit energized) work." Would you consider yourself a "vessel for honor" based on your choices this past week? If not,  confess any known sins of thought, word or deed and repent and "be ready," for you are now once again a "vessel for honor" for the Lord's use in His timing and for His purposes. 

THOUGHT #2 - Note that Jehovah would use judgment to make Himself known to Pharaoh. This is but a foretaste of all who like Pharaoh have hardened their hearts to Jehovah. He will bring judgment on the world and then they will know He is LORD, but they will still refuse to bow to Him (Rev 6:15-17+, Rev 16:9, 11+ - Rev 16:21+ "men blasphemed God because of the plague of hail"). However, the day will come as Paul described when even these Christ rejecters will have no choice but will be forced to bow --

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Php 2:9-11+)

Turned to blood - The Heb. word does not denote red coloring such as might be seen when red clay is washed downstream, but denotes actual substance, i.e., blood. (MacArthur).

Mattoon - Eighty years earlier, Pharaoh's daughter was at this river and rescued baby Moses. Moses faces a different king now. The tables are turned and the Nile River becomes a place of death for the Egyptians instead of Jewish baby boys. In this first plague, God dealt first with the instrument of death that killed thousands of Jewish baby boys that were drowned and perhaps eaten by crocodiles. The bloody Nile would be a reminder of the bloodshed eighty years earlier. God was confronting Egypt with its sin.

Exodus 7:18 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.

  • the fish - Ex 7:21 
  • will become foul- Ex 7:24 Nu 11:20 21:5 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Fetid means having offensive odor, a stale, nauseating smell as of something decaying (dead fish)!

Ps 105:29b says God "caused their fish to die." Did the die because of low oxygen content in the water? Or were they directly killed by God? Either way their death is the result of a sovereign, supernatural work of God.

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 - Note the results are (1) death in the water (2) stench coming from the water (3) scarcity of drinking water. Recall that the Nile River was considered the life blood of Egypt, and even considered as divine. God first strike is at the heart of the nation, the Nile River. 

Become foul (0887)(baash) means to have a bad smell or to stink. To be repulsive. It denotes a bad physical smell (blood in the Nile - Ex 7:21) or odor of spoiled manna (Ex 16:20). In a figurative sense, it speaks of a person who becomes strongly revolting to another, a metaphorical "stench in the nostrils." "When Moses struck the water of the Nile, the fish died and the river became foul (Ex 7:18, 21). After the plague of the frogs, the land was foul (stank). When some tried to save their allotted share of manna, it bred worms and emitted a stink (Ex 16:20). But the double portion gathered on the sixth day did not become foul (Exodus 16:24). This term, stink, is also used by the Hebrew foremen of the Israelite slave force who complained to Moses and Aaron that they had made Israel's savour odious in Pharoah's presence (Ex 5:21)." ( Louis Goldberg)

Find difficulty (03811)(laah) means to become weary or impatient, not be able, not have the capacity to carry out a function or task. It can refer either to physical weariness (Jer 12:5, Ge 19:11) or psychological weariness (Job 4:5) Disgust is also indicated when the Egyptians are said to be too "tired" to drink the corrupted waters of the Nile (Exodus 7:18) The Hebrews were wearied by too many" pagan, religious advisors (Isaiah 47:13). First used of the sodomites who wearied themselves trying to get to the 2 angels with Lot (Ge 19:11) God is weary of Israel's feasts (Is 1:14) God is weary holding wrath in (Jer 6:11). People "weary themselves committing iniquity." (Jer 9:5) The use of this word here carries the idea of making oneself weary in doing something, or "to strenuously exert oneself." It seems always to indicate exhausted patience. The term seems to imply that the Egyptians were not able to drink the contaminated water, and so would expend all their energy looking for water to drink, in frustration of course. They exhausted themselves in hunting for water.

Laah - 19x in 18v - become impatient(1), exhausted(1), find difficulty(1), impatient(1), parched(1), tired(2), try the patience(2), wearied(4), wearies(1), weary(5). Gen. 19:11; Exod. 7:18; Job 4:2; Job 4:5; Job 16:7; Ps. 68: 9; Prov. 26:15; Isa. 1:14; Isa. 7:13; Isa. 16:12; Isa. 47:13; Jer. 6:11; Jer. 9:5; Jer. 12:5; Jer. 15:6; Jer. 20:9; Ezek. 24:12; Mic. 6:3

Boice explains that "Egypt is strung out for hundreds of miles along the banks of the Nile. At times habitable land is only ten or fifteen miles wide, although it is wider in other places, such as in the Nile Delta. Suddenly the Nile, which had been the source of life for this ancient land, became a source of death. Everything in the Nile, and in every stream and pond, began to die. The question that would have been raised at once was: Where is the god of the Nile, Osiris, one of the great gods of Egypt? Where was his power? The Egyptians said that the Nile was his bloodstream, yet he appeared to be powerless. Where was Khnum, another of the great Nile gods, the guardian of the Nile sources who made sure the Nile kept flowing? Where was Hapi, the spirit of the Nile in Upper Egypt? Where were the gods and goddesses associated with the fish of the Nile, which were a great source of protein for the people? All these gods were revealed to be powerless."  (The Life of Moses: God's First Deliverer of Israel)

Guzik - this first plague was directed against the numerous Egyptian river deities. The Nile itself was virtually worshipped as a god by the Egyptians, and the LORD God shows that He has complete power over the Nile, not some river god.  The Egyptian god Khnum was said to be the guardian of the Nile, and this showed he was unable to protect his territory. The god Hapi was said to be the spirit of the Nile, and was brought low by this plague. The great god Osiris was thought to have the Nile as his bloodstream; in this plague he truly bled. The Nile itself was worshipped as a god, and there are papyri recording hymns sung in praise of the river. There is a significant mention of something like this in a papyrus from this general period known as the Ipuwer Papyrus (link to a skeptical Wikipedia note!). It actually says (Ipuwer 2.10) that the Nile was blood and undrinkable. The same papyrus repeatedly mentions that servants left their masters.

Mattoon on the beloved Nile -  What was loved was now loathed. What was desired was now despised. What was worshiped was now wretched. The object of adoration was an abomination.

Exodus 7:19  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 will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.'"

  • stretch - Ex 8:5,6,16 9:22,23,33 10:12,21 14:21,26 
  • their pools , Ge 1:10 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Water Is Changed into Blood, James Tissot

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, - Again note the pattern of Jehovah speaking to Moses who speaks to Aaron.

Take your staff - A command to take your staff - was this a separate staff that Aaron possessed or was it Moses' staff, the staff of God? I don't think it was another staff, but was Moses' staff, the one he had used to perform the miracle turning the staff into a serpent. Why? Because if we compare Scriptures, the staff seems to be the same staff described in Ex 7:15 ("the staff that was turned into a serpent" - which would have been Moses' staff) and which is then described by Aaron as "the staff that is in my hand" (Ex 7:17).

J Ligon Duncan - The next time there will be a judgment of blood in the water, it will be at the Red Sea, and it will be the armies of Egypt filing the Red Sea with death. So God is showing a picture of things to come as Pharaoh is stubborn, as he will not turn back, so God will bring death to Egypt. The whole point here is that God is sovereign over Pharaoh, God is sovereign over the Nile, God is sovereign over all creation, and God is sovereign over Egypt. So the plagues are both judgments and signs. They are punishments and ways in which God is revealing the fact that He is Lord.

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 - In Ex 7:17 the reference was just the Nile River, but now it is all the tributaries as well as potable water in every vessel in Egypt. Notice that while we see here that God commands Aaron "stretch out your hand," we see in other passages God says "I will stretch out My hand strike Egypt with all the miracles (Ex 3:20+, cf Ex 7:5), so clearly we see man's responsibility intimately integrated with God's sovereignty.

THOUGHT - This pattern of human responsibility and Divine sovereignty permeates the pages of the Old and New Testaments. I love Paul's beautiful description of the "real" power behind his ministry - "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, YET NOT I, but the grace of God with me." (1 Cor 15:10+, cf 2 Cor 3:5,6+). Notice the key confession "Yet not I but the grace of God with me." O, for all of us to be able to fulfill the work He has prepared beforehand for each of us to walk in (Eph 2:10+), leaning wholly on the supernatural power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29+), so that the glory solely and wholly goes to God, "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen."(Ro 11:36+) Let it be so Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

And there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone - The text says blood not like blood, so it sounds to me like literal blood. Does this include red and white blood cells, etc? I cannot say, but it sounds like literal blood, even I cannot fully understand how this was manifested. Blood in the vessels indicates this was a true miracle, not a natural phenomenon. Note that the translation adds the word "vessels" so the literal reading is "in wood" and "in stone." (see note by Currid below).

Guzik - There are nine in total (the tenth is the slaying of the firstborn, which is in a class by itself), and they are grouped together in threes. In this structure of threes, the first two plagues only come after warning and a call to repentance; the third plague in each set comes without warning.

Constable - God designed them to teach the Egyptians that Yahweh sovereignly controls the forces of nature. The Egyptians attributed this control to their gods.

John Currid has an interesting comment on vessels of wood and in vessels of stone - The final sentence of the verse reads literally, ‘Blood will be on all the land of Egypt and on the wooden [things] and stone [things].’ The terms ‘buckets’, ‘jars’, and ‘vessels’ etc. supplied by many translations are not found in the Hebrew text. To what, then, do ‘wooden [things] and stone [things]’ refer? Usually when the terms ‘wood’ and ‘stone’ are employed together they make reference to the physical substance of idols (see, for example, Dt. 28:36, 64; 29:17 [ED: SEE ALSO Dt 4:28, 2 Ki 19:18, Isa 37:19, Jer 3:9, Ezek 20:32cf Jer 2:27, ]). Egyptian priests washed the images of their gods in water every early morning. Thus, it may be that the water was turning to blood as they poured it on the idols. Perhaps this episode provides another example of mockery at the expense of Egyptian deities. (Other interpretations abound.) (EPSC-Ex)

U Cassuto - The Bible does not, of course, mean to say that Aaron was to tour the whole land of Egypt for this purpose, but that, standing in his place, he would wave his rod to and fro in different directions, and in those directions to which he would point with his rod the water would turn to blood. As a result of all this, there shall be blood in all the land of Egypt (on the use of the word all in a hyperbolical sense, see below). The expression at the end of the verse, in [= on] wood and in stone means: ‘even on wood and on stone’, but it is not quite easy to understand to what the wood and stone refer. Vessels of wood and stone were uncommon in Egypt at that time; other explanations that have been suggested are improbably. When, however, we consider the fact that the term ‘wood and stone’ usually signifies idols in the Bible, and that the Egyptian priests used to wash the images of their gods in water every day early in the morning, we may possibly conjecture that the sense of the passage is that even the water that was poured that very morning over the idols turned to blood, thus providing another example of mockery at the expense of the Egyptian deities. (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

Exodus 7:20  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.

  • he lifted up the staff - Ex 17:5,6,9-12 Nu 20:8-12 
  • all the water that was in the Nile - Ex 7:17,18 Ps 78:44 Ps 105:29 Joh 2:9-11 Rev 8:8 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


So Moses and Aaron did even as the LORD had commanded - Moses gave Aaron Jehovah's command and Aaron carried out the command. 

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 - Recall they had come to the bank of the Nile to meet Pharaoh when he came down in the morning. Pharaoh had a "front row seat" to the power of Jehovah. God is going to help Pharaoh come to know Him!

And all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood - It occurred just as God had said. The fact that it happened coincident with striking the Nile with the staff is NOT a coincidence but clear evidence of a miracle and the sovereignty of God over nature. Note that Moses does not say "like blood" but "to blood."  Both the Hebrew word (dam) and the Greek word (haima) both refer to literal blood. (Ex 7:17, Ex 7:19, Ex 7:20, Ex 7:21). This was literally blood, whether we can fully comprehend that or not. Surprisingly even conservative writers occasionally suggest it was "like blood" but not really blood. 

J Ligon Duncan -  The result, of course, of Moses and Aaron’s actions is an ecological disaster of epic proportions. It affected not only the Nile, but water throughout Egypt. Moses and Aaron don’t do incantations, they don’t do any rituals, they simply do what God tells them without any drama, without any fanfare, and it happens. When the magicians attempt to duplicate, they do it with...secret arts.... As God brings judgment on the Nile, we see here a picture that Egyptian polytheism is futile in the face of the sovereign God of Israel. The Nile was worshipped as a god, and its water was the lifeblood of Egypt.

Guzik - Some say the plagues each have a naturalistic explanation. In the case of this first plague, some point out that when the Nile reaches an extremely high flood stage, it collects finely powdered red earth, and this red earth carries organisms that color the water and kill fish. But if this were the cause, it is hard to explain how Pharaoh could possibly be impressed. It is important to understand that these plagues were all literal; there was nothing symbolic about them. Each plague pointed to a greater meaning than the event itself, but they really happened. This guides our understanding about the plagues in the Book of Revelation; there is no reason to see them as merely symbolic either.

Exodus 7:21  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.

Note explaining the three pictures above taken on May 29, 2020 in Jamaica Beach, Texas. Click on each one to enlarge. The pictures are from the shore where I ride my bicycle. What I saw this morning blew me away. I could hardly stand the smell as I got close and realized it was a tremendous number of fish, probably in the thousands! All I could think about was the smell in the Nile river with all of the dead fish (and later the stench of the rotting frogs). This natural disaster probably was the result of the 55 mph winds which blew up waves of water that trapped thousands of small fish on the shore! Magnify that last picture and see the small fish eyes and then use your sanctified imagination to consider the horrid scene in Egypt (not to mention the overwhelming smell) several thousand years ago! This even in Texas was natural (albeit God still controlled the winds and waves!), but that event in Egypt was supernatural!

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 - Dead fish made the Nile loathsome and literally undrinkable.

Thompson - Now some liberals and also the pseudo-intellectuals of the History Channel have tried to convince people that this was not really a miracle, but was just something that typically happened toward the end of June that made the Nile look reddish. What they say is that toward the end of June, the waters of the Nile begin to rise and are colored dark red by the silt carried down from the headwaters. For about a three-month period the water looks reddish.

But we may easily disprove the secular scoffers and prove that what is recorded in Exodus 7:17-21 is, in fact, a miracle of God by offering six evidences:

  1. (Evidence #1) - The text says God would turn the water into blood , not the water into the color red (Ex 7:17, 19). The Hebrew “blood” (dam) is not “red” (adom).
  2. (Evidence #2) - The water is changed by Moses striking the water with his staff (Ex Ex. 7:17) - not by the rising of the water level of the Nile.
  3. (Evidence #3) - All the water was totally undrinkable (Ex 7:18, 24), which never happened when the Nile was just some reddish color.
  4. (Evidence #4) - The condition of the Nile lasted just seven days, not three months (Ex 7:25).
  5. (Evidence #5) - All the fish in the river died (Ex 7:18, 21), which never happened when silt ran into the river.
  6. (Evidence #6) - God, at different times, displays His power by transforming water into something else. He turned water into wine in John 2 and water into blood in Exodus 7.

    The only sane way to interpret this is that God did perform a judgment/sign/miracle on the Nile in that He literally turned it into blood. (Sermon)

Here is a link to another foolish attempt to try to explain away the supernatural with a "scientific explanation" of blood in the Nile! One is reminded of the words of Paul in Romans 1

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:20-23+)

Exodus 7:22  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.

  • magicians - Ex 7:11 8:7,8 Jer 27:18 2Ti 3:8 
  • and Pharaoh's - Ex 7:13 
  • as the - Ex 7:3 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts - I do not fully understand this passage. If the water was already turned to blood, how would the magicians replicate the plague? However it occurred, it would certainly caused Pharaoh to minimize the miracle of Aaron and Moses. Where did they get the water? The only source would have been water dug up (cf Ex 7:24). Alternatively some propose that there were a few areas where Aaron had not stretched out his staff and the magicians used these for their counterfeit miracle. The miracle they should have done but could not do was turn the blood back to fresh water. 

Wiersbe - The three sign miracles that we’re considering—the staff turned into a serpent, the water turned to blood, and the invasion of the frogs—have in common the fact that all of them were duplicated by Pharaoh’s court magicians. Perhaps “counterfeited” is a more accurate word, because what they did was more likely deceptive sleight of hand. However, Satan can empower his people to perform “lying wonders” (2 Th. 2:9–10; Mt. 24:24; Rev. 13:11–15), and that may have been the source of their power....Satan is a counterfeiter who “plants” imitation Christians in this world. Paul called them “false brethren” (2 Cor. 11:26). Satan has an imitation gospel (Gal. 1:6–9), a counterfeit righteousness (Rom. 10:1–3), and even counterfeit ministers who spread his lies (2 Cor. 11:13–15). Satan will one day produce a false Christ who will deceive the whole world (2 Thes. 2:1–12). (Be Delivered)

And Pharaoh's heart was hardened (chazaq; Lxx = skleruno = hardened like "sclerosis" of coronary arteries- The literal Hebrew is "strong heart" but not like the great movie "Braveheart!" This is the second time Moses says Pharaoh's heart was hardened (see Summary of Passages on Hardening Pharaoh's Heart) but does not tell us if the hardening is a result of his volitional choice or a result of God's judgment on Pharaoh. 

And he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said - The result of Pharaoh's hard heart was that he would not listen to Moses and Aarons command from God. He heard it but he did not "heed" it -- in many contexts, to hear or listen connotes the sense of to obey and that is clearly the case in this passage for Pharaoh heard the words of God (through Moses, from Aaron) but he refuse to obey the command of God. 

Cassuto - In those directions towards which Aaron had not stretched forth his hand, pure water was left, and these the magicians transformed into blood by their secret arts (here the word בְּלָטֵיהֶם belāṭēhem, ‘secret arts’, is spelt without a Hē’ [after the Lāmedh], not as in v. 11). In this detail, also, there is an element of derision. What did the wise men of Egypt achieve by their efforts? They added plague upon plague! But Pharaoh was satisfied with the fact that his magicians were able to perform, with their magic arts, similar wonders to those shown by Moses and Aaron

Mattoon - Unfortunately, they couldn't change the blood back to the water. Why did not the magicians change the blood back into water? That would have alleviated the misery and distress of the people of Egypt. Changing what water was left into blood, only aggravated the situation for the Egyptians. There was not much good water around and the magicians made it even less. That was pretty stupid, but this is what Satan does to people when they reject God. He robs them of common sense! I never cease to be amazed at the stupid choices that backsliders make in their lives. They ruin their lives and create more problems for themselves when they run from God. What mercies Egypt had, the magicians would take even those away. All of this tells us that the devil cannot remove judgment, he can only compound and add to it. Likewise when people come up with clever arguments to reject God's will and way, they do not improve their situation but only make it worse. They do not bless others around them by encouraging them with their clever arguments to disobey God; they only curse them. This duplication by the magicians deceived and dulled Pharaoh more. He considered the blood as another trick and became dispassionate toward God's work. Pharaoh could accept an inferior performance by the magicians but the great work of Moses and Aaron was found unconvincing to his heart.


Alva J. McClain writes that

There is a definite parallel between the supernatural preparation for the kingdom (Ex 19:6+) in history under Moses and the supernatural judgments which shall be poured out upon a rebellious world in preparation for the future Millennial Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ at His second advent.

(1) There is the same insolent challenge to the true God on the part of the Gentile powers (Ps. 2:1-3).

(2) There will be a similar gracious but infinitely greater preliminary miracle [like Ex. 7:12]—the Rapture of the Church—warning men of the supremacy of Jehovah and the ultimate defeat of all who rebel against Him.

(3) There will be the same swift progression in the severity of the divine judgments which follow, and even a striking parallel in the nature of the judgments (cf. Rev. 6:1-17-18+).

(4) There will be the same victorious outcome, the destruction of the antichrist and his armies in the judgment of Armageddon, and deliverance of the people of Israel (Rev. 19:1-21+).

(5) There will be another song of victory, significantly referred to as ‘the song of Moses. . . and the song of the Lamb’ (Rev. 15:1-3+).  (The Greatness Of The Kingdom Winona Lake, IN: BMH Books, 1959, 56.)

There is a parallel in Revelation 8:8-9 with the Trumpet Judgments...

The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed. 

Tony Garland comments on Revelation 8:8-9

something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea

The text is careful to differentiate between a great mountain and something like a great mountain (ὡς ὄρος μέγα [hōs oros mega]). The object itself is evidently not a mountain, nor is it said to erupt or spew into the ocean—as we might expect from a great volcanic disturbance. Instead, it is thrown into the sea by some agent, possibly an angel, although the text does not say. This could describe the impact of a large meteor burning upon entry to the earth’s atmosphere from outer space42 or it could be something entirely supernatural.

Jeremiah referred to Babylon as a “destroying mountain” which God would make as a “burnt mountain” (Jer. 51:25). Here it seems that God uses a destroying mountain in judgments which will ultimately overthrow Babylon (Rev. 17, 18)

a third of the sea became blood

In the first plague which God brought upon Egypt where Aaron stretched forth his rod, all the waters of Egypt became blood (Ex. 7:19; Ps. 78:44). Here, as in Egypt, a literal judgment is in view because the result affects living creatures and ships ((Ps. 105:29 cf. Rev. 8:9). Later, in the pouring of the second bowl, all of the sea will become “blood as of a dead man” (Rev. 16:3). Like Moses, God’s two witnesses will also have the power to turn water into blood (Rev. 11:6).

In the third bowl judgment, the remainder of the rivers and springs of water which were not poisoned in the judgments of the third trumpet also become blood (Rev. 16:4). Later, it will be said of the Harlot that she is “drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17:6). During the Tribulation, God gives her literal blood to drink.

The destruction of the sea will cause tremendous upheaval to the food chain which supports all life on the planet. The divine hand is systematically removing every means by which man can continue to imagine himself as independent of the one true God.

The price of sin will include the pangs of hunger, for not only will God ensure that the world’s food supply is depleted, but He will also ensure that its meager reserves will not be bolstered, and then ensure that man’s alternate food source, the sea, will be drastically depleted.43

God created the sea to be a blessing to mankind, to provide food, oxygen (much of Earth’s oxygen comes from the phytoplankton and algae in the world’s oceans), and water from the rainstorms on the land that is originally gathered up by evaporation from the oceans. But people have repaid God’s gracious provision with ingratitude and idolatry, revering the sea as the supposed source of their remotest evolutionary ancestors. As He had devastated the land environment, the true God judges the sea.44

In the plague of Egypt, the water turned into literal blood so it would seem a similar miraculous judgment occurs here, although it is also possible that “blood” may simply denote “death” which results from the polluted waters:

The word translated “blood” can mean “death” and this provides a ready explanation for this passage. The prophecy may mean that the chemical composition of the waters will be so altered by the meteorite, or whatever it is that God will plunge into the ocean, that the marine life in the effected area will be killed and even metal vessels will be destroyed or ruined. As the text does not say the sea became “like” blood but that it “became” blood, and, as the same word is used in Rev. 16:6‣, this should not be taken as only describing the color of the oceans, but must be understood either literally, or with its secondary meaning of “death.”45

living creatures in the sea died . . . ships were destroyed

Literally, the creatures in the sea, the ones having life. Life is ψυχὰς [psychas], which has many different shades of meaning, but here describes “life on earth in its external, physical aspects. (breath of) life, life-principle, soul, of animals.”46 The sea is to be taken literally because both living creatures and ships are destroyed—neither of which have biblical precedence if the sea is taken as a symbol representing the Gentile nations. See commentary on Revelation 7:1. When Isaiah prophesied of this time, he mentioned that ships would be among those things which God destroyed as He brought down man’s pride (Isa. 2:16).

The impact will also generate unimaginably huge tsunamis (tidal waves). Those giant waves will destroy a third of the ships on the world’s oceans, capsizing huge ocean-going vessels and completely swamping ports. The resulting disruption of commerce and transportation will cause economic chaos.47

The two witnesses also had power like Moses and Aaron

These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.  (Rev 11:6)

Finally blood is described in the second and third bowl judgment...

The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.  4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; 6 for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.” 7 And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”  (Rev 16:3-7)

Tony Garland comments on the parallel Revelation passages - 

blood as of a dead man

Αἷμα ὡς νεκροῦ [Haima hōs nekrou], blood as (a) dead (one). In the judgment of the second trumpet, a third of the sea became blood and a third of the living creatures in the sea died. See commentary on Revelation 8:8. Now, the remainder of the sea becomes blood, but not just blood, lifeless blood. Scripture indicates that the “life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). Blood “banks” and “bloodmobiles” in our own day attest to this truth recorded by Scripture long before the medical discoveries of our time. The blood is the essential system by which nutrients arrive and waste is removed.

every living creature in the sea died

Now, the essential life-supporting mechanisms within the sea, the basis of the food chain, are destroyed. As in Egypt, the animal life within the water dies (Ex. 7:18, 21; Ps. 105:29). See The Plagues of Egypt and the Tribulation. “Imagine the chaos: all the dead marine life lying feet deep on the shores of the world and rotting there. The loss of marine life as a food source will be devastating after the destruction of vegetation that will occur as a result of Rev. 8:7+.”11

Revelation 16:4  they became blood

In the judgment of the third trumpet, a third of the rivers and springs of water became wormwood. See commentary on Revelation 8:10+. The parallels between the second and third trumpet judgments and the second and third bowl judgments are striking. Nevertheless, they are different both in quantity (one-third versus all) and quality (blood versus wormwood). Similarity does not make identity. The bowl judgments do not recapitulate the trumpet judgements.

Overly subtle interpretations in the interest of recapitulation overlook the distinct differences between the two series. Among the more important are: (1) the trumpet-plagues are partial in their effect (one-third of the earth is burned, Rev. 8:7+; one-third of the sea becomes blood, Rev. 8:8+; see also Rev. 8:9-12+) while the bowls are universal (“every living soul died,” Rev. 16:3+; “every island fled away,” Rev. 16:20+) and final; (2) the trumpets are to a certain extent a call to repentance while the bowls are the pouring out of divine wrath; and (3) man is affected indirectly by the first four trumpets but is directly attacked from the outset by the bowls. It should also be noticed that the bowls are poured out in rapid succession with the customary interlude between the sixth and seventh elements of the sequence missing.12

See Literary Structure.There is a close similarity between this judgment and that which afflicted Egypt prior to the Exodus when the rivers and streams of Egypt were turned to blood (Ex. 7:20). See The Plagues of Egypt and the Tribulation.

That, then, which has always been the symbol of salvation in the midst of life, becomes the symbol of condemnation in the midst of death. But now, the seas are turned to blood; the fish die; the winds of God blow death over all the earth. They had refused the salvation that would have come to them from the blood of the One who is Life; they now receive condemnation from the blood that symbolizes death.13

The destruction of what is left of the earth’s fresh water will cause unthinkable hardship and suffering. There will be no water to drink; no clean water to wash the oozing sores caused by the first bowl judgment; no water to bring cooling relief from the scorching heat that the fourth bowl judgment will shortly bring. The scene is so unimaginably horrible that people will wonder how a God of compassion, mercy, and grace could send such a judgment. And so there is a brief interlude in the pouring out of the judgments while an angel speaks in God’s defense.14

(Click here for the footnotes #11-14)



#1 - Nile/Water to blood

Ex. 7:20+; Ps 105:29

Rev. 8:8-9; 11:6; 16:3-6

#2 - Frogs

Ex 8:6+  Ps 105:30

Rev. 16:13 (note)

#3 - Gnats

Ex 8:17+ 

Rev. 11:6??? (note)

#4 - Flies

Ex. 8:24+; Ps. 105:31

Rev. 11:6??? (note)

#5 - Livestock Died

Ex. 9:6+

Rev. 8:9 (note)

#6 - Boils

Ex. 9:10+

Rev. 16:2

#7 - Hail

Ex. 9:23+; Ps. 105:32

Rev. 8:7; 16:21

#8 - Locusts

Ex. 10:13+; Ps. 105:34

Rev. 9:3

#9 - Darkness

Ex. 10:22+; Ps. 105:32

Rev. 8:12;
Rev 9:2
Rev 16:10

#10 - Death of Firstborn

Ex. 12:29+; Ps. 105:36


Exodus 7:23  Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this.

  • with no concern - Ex 9:21 De 32:46 1Sa 4:20 *marg: Job 7:17 Ps 62:10 Pr 22:17 24:32 *marg: Pr 29:1 Isa 26:11 Jer 5:3 36:24 Eze 40:4 Am 4:7-12 Hab 1:5 Mal 2:2 
  • Exodus 7 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this - It this were not the inspired Word of God, one could hardly believe what they are reading. The great Nile River running red, ruined and reeking, and Pharaoh's unbelievable indifference! That would soon change! To be sure his lack of concern was the fact that his magicians could turn water to blood. But think about this a moment. I personally doubt they truly turned the water to literal blood in the same sense as God did! God's blood was real blood, and it had life (cf Lev 17:11+), but Satan cannot create life. He can only counterfeit. So whether by illusion or satanic derived power to turn the water red, it was sufficient in the eyes of Pharaoh to convince him that his men had the same power as God. He would see a similar feat by his magicians with the frogs, but that would be their last hoorah so to speak. Satan cannot compete with our great God! Pharaoh would soon see that clearly. 

J Ligon Duncan - Then we see how Pharaoh reacts. It’s absolutely stunning, verse 23. "Pharaoh returns to his palace, he shows absolutely no concern, and he thinks it was all a trick. I mean, after all, his magicians had been able to duplicate it. It’s all a farce, it’s all a trick. His people are without water, they’re trying to dig new wells because they can’t find clean, pure water to drink. Egypt is in havoc for seven days, and Pharaoh is absolutely unconcerned. This will not be the last time that we see a picture of a heart which is blind to the truth of God.

Currid on no concern - He saw no differences between the two miraculous transformations of water to blood. This, therefore, signifies an instance of total dismissal. (Ibid)

NET Note - The text has וְלֹא־שָׁת לִבּוֹ גַּם־לָזֹאת (vélo’-shat libbo gam-lazo’t), which literally says, “and he did not set his heart also to this.” To “set the heart” to something would mean “to consider it.” This Hebrew idiom means that he did not pay attention to it, or take it to heart (cf. 2 Sa 13:20; Ps 48:13; Ps 62:10; Pr 22:17; 24:32). Since Pharaoh had not been affected by this, he did not consider it or its implications further. (ED: I DON'T NECESSARILY AGREE THAT HE HAD NOT BEEN AFFECTED! HE CERTAINLY HAD SEEN THE "DIVINE" NILE RIVER THE SOURCE OF LIFE TURNED INTO A SOURCE OF DEATH. HIS INDIFFERENCE AND APATHY SPEAK TO THE DEPTH OF HIS DEPRAVITY, THAT HE WOULD NOT EVEN BE CONCERNED FOR HIS OWN PEOPLE! HIS HEART WAS ALREADY HARDENED/HARDENING!)

Mattoon - The Lord was chastening Pharaoh and he shrugged it off. Is God using calamity to chasten you and are you shrugging it off, claiming it is just coincidence or your imagination? We are to examine ourselves. Don't harden your heart like Pharaoh. 

A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. 
-- Proverbs 29:1

Exodus 7:24  So all the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the Nile.

So all the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the Nile - The people had to resort to the water supply beneath the surface (as we do today in wells). The people of Egypt suffered because of the stubbornness of their sovereign! That is usually the case when a country has a godless leader! 

Exodus 7:25  Seven days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile.


Wiersbe - The fact that there were still frogs in the river indicates that the water was again normal (Ex 8:5). If the water were still blood, the frogs would have died. (Ibid)

Thompson - one thing that often gets overlooked here is that after seven days, God, in pure grace, turned the blood back into water. Now one thing about Pharaoh that is so applicable today is that God shows him that he is heading to judgment and Pharaoh doesn’t seem to be concerned about it. God is displaying his power today through sink holes, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, power outages and storms and people are more concerned about their house than their own soul. Don’t let us make the same mistake. Plead with God to always make your heart soft and tender to His Word and will. Once we learn that we are nothing, that is when we will see God do something

Seven days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile - One can only imagine the impact of one week of "bloody water" that continually reeked. If you have never smelled dead fish, you don't know what you are missing! But be glad you have missed it, because it is one of the most horrible smells I have ever smelled (and as a doctor I have smelled some horrible odors!) (See Why Rotting Fish Smell More than Meat)

Rod Mattoon - For seven days they had to dig for their water to survive. Seven days reveal the obstinance of Pharaoh and the opportunity that God was giving Him to repent before the next plague. If God is trying to get your attention, then pay attention. If He is giving you an opportunity to be saved or serve Him, then take advantage of the opportunity.

Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”–

--- 2 Corinthians 6:2

Currid applies this section - The entire plague account is a mere foreshadowing of the plagues that will strike the followers of Satan at the end of time (see Rev. 16:1-21). It is a model, or paradigm, of judgement that will come upon all unbelievers. The first plague in Egypt is prominently repeated in the end-time. Revelation 16:3–4+ describes the second and third bowls of wrath in that light: ‘And the second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died. And the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood.’ The similarities between this description and the account in Exodus are obvious. The only difference is that the extent and intensity of the plagues in Revelation are so much greater. Thus the episode in the Old Testament is a mere foretaste of what will come upon unbelievers in the final days. (Ibid)

J Ligon Duncan - we can also say that the plagues in general foreshadow the judgment that is going to come against all the followers of Satan, against all unbelievers in the end times. In the book of Revelation, in a passage that you’re going to hear not too long from now on Wednesday night. Revelation, chapter 16, goes back and mirrors the language of Exodus, chapter 7, and applies it to the final pouring out of the bowls of wrath against the wicked. In the book of Exodus, we not only have a display of God’s sovereignty in redeeming His people out of Egypt, but we have a picture of God’s final judgment against all those who resist His will. The choices are very simple. You accept His revelation, you acknowledge Him as Lord, He makes you to be His People, and He becomes your God. Or, like Pharaoh, you respond by going into your house with no concern, rejecting Him, and the final judgments of God are visited upon you. Those are the only two options for us in this passage or anywhere else in Scripture. Bow the knee, and accept the Lord Jesus Christ, or be judged in God’s just judgment. That’s the message of Exodus 7, verses 14 through 25.