|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:14-25 Here is the first of the ten plagues, the turning of the water into blood. It was a dreadful plague. The sight of such vast rolling streams of blood could not but strike horror. Nothing is more common than water: so wisely has Providence ordered it, and so kindly, that what is so needful and serviceable to the comfort of human life, should be cheap and almost every where to be had; but now the Egyptians must either drink blood, or die for thirst. Egypt was a pleasant land, but the dead fish and blood now rendered it very unpleasant. It was a righteous plague, and justly sent upon the Egyptians; for Nile, the river of Egypt, was their idol. That creature which we idolize, God justly takes from us, or makes bitter to us. They had stained the river with the blood of the Hebrews' children, and now God made that river all blood. Never any thirsted after blood, but sooner or later they had enough of it. It was a significant plague; Egypt had great dependence upon their river, Zec 14:18; so that in smiting the river, they were warned of the destruction of all the produce of their country. The love of Christ to his disciples changes all their common mercies into spiritual blessings; the anger of God towards his enemies, renders their most valued advantages a curse and a misery to them. Aaron is to summon the plague by smiting the river with his rod. It was done in the sight of Pharaoh and his attendants, for God's true miracles were not performed as Satan's lying wonders; truth seeks no corners. See the almighty power of God. Every creature is that to us which he makes it to be water or blood. See what changes we may meet with in the things of this world; what is always vain, may soon become vexatious. See what mischievous work sin makes. If the things that have been our comforts prove our crosses, we must thank ourselves. It is sin that turns our waters into blood. The plague continued seven days; and in all that time Pharaoh's proud heart would not let him desire Moses to pray for the removal of it. Thus the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath. No wonder that God's anger is not turned away, but that his hand is stretched out still.
Verse 15. - In the morning. The expression used both here and again in Exodus:20 seems rather to imply a daily custom of the Pharaoh. It is conjectured; not without reason, that among the recognised duties of the monarch at this time was the offering of a morning sacrifice to the Nile on the banks of the river (Keil and Delitzsch, Kalisch, etc.). Possibly, however, this may not have been the case, and God may have chosen for certain miracles particular days, on which the king was about to proceed to the river in view of some special ceremony connected with the annual inundation. Against he come. Literally, "to meet him." In their hand. When the time came for smiting the waters, the rod was transferred to Aaron's hand (ver. 19).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning,.... The next morning, a time in which the mind is most composed and sedate, and fit to attend to what may be suggested:
lo, he goeth out unto the water; the river Nile, either to take his morning's walk, and to refresh himself at the waterside, as the Jerusalem Targum; or to observe divinations upon the water, as a magician, as the Targum of Jonathan. So in the Talmud (d) it is said, that the Pharaoh in the days of Moses was a magician. Or rather, as Aben Ezra thinks, which he says is a custom of the kings of Egypt to this day, to go out in the months of Tammuz and Ab, i.e. June, and July, when the river increases, to observe how many degrees it has ascended, by which the fruitfulness of the ensuing season was judged of. See Gill on Or else he went to worship the rising sun, or the Nile, to pay his morning devotions to it: for not only Jarchi, and other Jewish writers, say it was their chief god, but Plutarch (e) also affirms, that nothing was so much honoured with the Egyptians as the Nile; and both Theodoret on this place, and Athanasius (f) elsewhere says, that they reckoned it a god, and worshipped it as such; and it has been usual with other nations to worship rivers, as Aelianus (g) reports:
and thou shall stand by the river's brink against he come; over against the brink of the river Nile, in order to meet him:
and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand; as a terror to Pharaoh, on sight of which he might be put in mind of what had been done, and by means of which he might fear other wonders would be wrought; by this it appears, that after the rod had been turned into a serpent, it became a rod again, as it did at Horeb, Exodus 4:4. Moses having previous notice of all this, shows the prescience of God, and his certain knowledge of future contingent events.
(d) T. Bab. Moed. Katon, fol. 18. 1.((e) De lside & Osir. Vide Philo de Vita Mosis, l. 1. p. 617. (f) Contr. Gentil p. 20. & de Incarnatione, p. 73. (g) Var. Hist. l. 2. c. 33.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. Get thee unto Pharaoh—Now began those appalling miracles of judgment by which the God of Israel, through His ambassadors, proved His sole and unchallengeable supremacy over all the gods of Egypt, and which were the natural phenomena of Egypt, at an unusual season, and in a miraculous degree of intensity. The court of Egypt, whether held at Rameses, or Memphis, or Tanis in the field of Zoan (Ps 78:12), was the scene of those extraordinary transactions, and Moses must have resided during that terrible period in the immediate neighborhood.
in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water—for the purpose of ablutions or devotions perhaps; for the Nile was an object of superstitious reverence, the patron deity of the country. It might be that Moses had been denied admission into the palace; but be that as it may, the river was to be the subject of the first plague, and therefore, he was ordered to repair to its banks with the miracle-working rod, now to be raised, not in demonstration, but in judgment, if the refractory spirit of the king should still refuse consent to Israel's departure for their sacred rites.
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