|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.
Verse 12. - But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. Aaron's serpent turned upon its rivals and devoured them, thus exhibiting a marked superiority.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents,.... That is, they seemed to be so, as Josephus (z) expresses it, but not really, in which he is followed by many; though some think that the devil assisted in this affair, and in an instant, as soon as the rods were cast down, removed them and put real serpents in their room:
but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods; that is, the serpent that Aaron's rod was turned into, swallowed up the rods of the magicians, which never were otherwise than rods only in appearance; or if real serpents were put in the room of them, these were devoured by his serpent called his rod, because it was before turned into a serpent, as Aben Ezra observes; though the Targums of Jonathan, Jarchi, and R. Jeshua, suppose this was done after the serpent became a rod again; which makes the miracle the greater and more wonderful, that a rod should devour other rods; and supposing them real serpents, this was what the magicians could not make their rods do, and in which they were outdone by Aaron.
(z) Antiqu. ut supra. (l. 2. c. 13 sect. 3.)
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods—This was what they could not be prepared for, and the discomfiture appeared in the loss of their rods, which were probably real serpents.
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