Exodus 7

Exodus 7

Moses and Aaron Before Pharaoh

And the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the LORD commanded them. Now Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

The First Plague: Water Turned to Blood

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water. Stand on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that turned into a serpent. And 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 so far, you have not obeyed. Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile.”’” And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”

Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood. And the fish in the Nile died, and the Nile stank, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said. Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile.

Seven full days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile.


Exodus 7 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart was something God had reminded Moses of time and time again. We read it in Exodus 4, Exodus 7, and twice in Exodus 14. The hardening of the heart was a way in which God would pit his enemies against Him so that His glory would be revealed.

This was especially important in the case of Pharaoh who would have seen himself as a god among men. It may seem strange to us that the Lord tells Moses he will make him “like God” to Pharaoh, but in that culture, status was everything. Pharaoh would never have listened to a nobody like Moses, and because Moses was raised in the Egyptian culture, he knew that. This statement by God was a reassurance to Moses that, in time, Pharaoh would witness the power of God.

Just imagine the Lord asking you to travel to the White House and give a message to the President. Of course, we would wonder, how is this possible? The President won’t take a meeting with me, let alone listen to what I have to say. Slowly but surely, there would be a perspective change with Moses where he would begin to trust that God was over this situation.

The explanation God gives here for the hardening of the heart is so that He may perform multiple signs and wonders. Oftentimes, we look at people who are hardened to God and become discouraged. It could be, like Pharaoh, that the hardening is the prelude to the miraculous. Even though Pharaoh’s heart never changed, there are many today who have been miraculously converted through the Gospel. We never know how God is using a hardened heart for His glory.

The goal is always the glorification of God. It’s easy to get sidetracked with people who have hardened hearts. Many want to argue and debate theology. Sometimes we think if we can humiliate them, they will change. It never works. God uses us, as He would with Moses and Aaron, but the credit always goes back to God. The Lord has said that Pharaoh will know He is God. In the end, that’s what would be remembered.

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