|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 18. - The fish... shall die. This would increase the greatness of the calamity, for the Egyptians lived to a very large extent upon fish (Birch, 'Egypt from the Earliest Times,' p. 45), which was taken in the Nile, in the canals, and the Lake Morris (Herod. 2:149). The river shall stink. As Keil and Delitzsch observe, "this seems to indicate putrefaction." The Egyptians shall loathe to drink. The expression is stronger in verse 24, where we find that "they could not drink." We may presume that at first, not supposing that the fluid could really be blood, they tried to drink it, took it into their mouths, and possibly swallowed some, but that very soon they found they could not continue to do so.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the fish that is in the river shall die,.... Their element being changed, and they not able to live in any other but water:
and the river shall stink; with the blood, into which it should be congealed, and with the putrefied bodies of fishes floating in it:
and the Egyptians shall loath to drink of the water of the river; the very colour of it, looking like blood, would set them against it, and create a nausea in them; or "shall be weary" (h), tired of drinking it in a little time, through the loathsomeness of it; or be weary in digging about it, Exodus 7:24 to get some clear water to drink of; or in seeking to find out ways and methods to cure the waters, that so they might be fit to drink of, as Jarchi interprets it.
(h) "delassabuntur", Tigurine version, Vatablus. "Defatigabuntur", Cartwright.
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