|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:8-13 What men dislike, because it opposes their pride and lusts, they will not be convinced of; but it is easy to cause them to believe things they wish to be true. God always sends with his word full proofs of its Divine authority; but when men are bent to disobey, and willing to object, he often permits a snare to be laid wherein they are entangled. The magicians were cheats, trying to copy the real miracles of Moses by secret sleights or jugglings, which to a small extent they succeeded in doing, so as to deceive the bystanders, but they were at length obliged to confess they could not any longer imitate the effects of Divine power. None assist more in the destruction of sinners, than such as resist the truth by amusing men with a counterfeit resemblance of it. Satan is most to be dreaded when transformed into an angel of light.
Verses 10-13. - THE FIRST SIGN, AND ITS FAILURE TO CONVINCE. Obeying the command given them (vers. 2, 9), Moses and Aaron went to the court a second time, and entering into the royal presence, probably repeated their demand - as from God - that the king would let the Children of Israel go (Exodus 6:11), when Pharaoh objected that they had no authority to speak to him in God's name, and required an evidence of their authority, either in the actual words of verse 9 ("Shew a miracle for you"), or in some equivalent ones. Aaron hereupon cast down on the ground the rod which Moses had brought from Midian, and it became a serpent (ver. 10). Possibly Pharaoh may have been prepared for this. He may have been told that this was one among the signs which had been done in the sight of the elders and people of Israel when the two brothers first came back from Midian (Exodus 4:30). If he knew of it, no doubt the "magicians" knew of it, and had prepared themselves. Pharaoh summoned them, as was natural, to his presence, and consulted them with respect to the portent, whereupon they too cast down the rods which they were carrying in their hands, and they "became serpents; but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods" (ver. 12). (For the explanation of those facts, see the comment below). Pharaoh was to some extent impressed by the miracle, but not so as to yield. His heart remained hard, and he refused to let the people go. Verse 10. - Aaron cast down his rod. The rod is called indifferently "Aaron's rod" and "Moses' rod," because, though properly the rod of Moses (Exodus 4:2), yet ordinarily it was placed in the hands of Aaron (vers. 19, 20; Exodus 8:5, 17, etc.) It became a serpent. The word for "serpent" is not the same as was used before (Exodus 4:3); but it is not clear that a different species is meant. More probably it is regarded by the writer as a synonym.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh,.... Into the palace of Pharaoh boldly, and with intrepidity, clothed with such power and authority, and assured of success:
and they did as the Lord had commanded; they demanded in his name the dismission of the children of Israel, and upon his requiring a miracle to confirm their mission, wrought one as follows:
and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and it became a serpent: or a "dragon", as the Septuagint version; this word is sometimes used of great whales, Genesis 1:21 and of the crocodile, Ezekiel 29:3 and it is very likely the crocodile is meant here, as Dr. Lightfoot (q) thinks; since this was frequent in the Nile, the river of Egypt, where the Hebrew infants had been cast, and into whose devouring jaws they fell, and which also was an Egyptian deity (r). Though no mention is made of Pharaoh's demanding a miracle, yet no doubt he did, as the Lord had intimated he would, and without which it can hardly be thought it would be done; and Artapanus (s), an Heathen writer, expressly asserts it; for he says,"when the king required of Moses to do some sign or wonder, the rod which he had he cast down, and it became a serpent, to the amazement of all, and then took it by its tail and it be came a rod again;''which is a testimony from an Heathen of the truth of this miracle.
(q) Works, vol. 1. p. 702. (r) Crocodylen adorat, Juvenal, Sat. 15. (s) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 435.
Wesley's Notes on the Bible
7:10 And Aaron cast his rod down, and it became a serpent - This was proper not only to affect Pharaoh with wonder, but to strike a terror upon him. This first miracle, though it was not a plague, yet amounted to the threatening of a plague; if it made not Pharaoh feel, it made him fear; this is God's method of dealing with sinners he comes upon them gradually.
Exodus 7:10 Parallel Commentaries
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