|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.
Verses 22, 23. - On the occurrence of the second sign and first plague, the magicians were again consulted; and, by means which it is impossible to do more the. conjecture, they produced a seeming transformation into blood of a certain quantity of water. The inquiry, whence they procured the water, is answered by ver. 24. That they actually turned water into blood is scarcely asserted in the vague "did so" of ver. 22. Perhaps they had recourse to sleight of hand, and made a substitution, like modern conjurors; perhaps they merely turned the water of a red colour. All that was necessary was to convince Pharaoh that they were able to do what Moses and Aaron had done - there was no one to watch, and test, and examine their pretended miracle, which consequently passed muster, though it may have been no more than a trick. Pharaoh, however, suffered himself to be convinced, and "turned and went into his house" without paying any attention to the marvel wrought (ver. 23). Verse 22. - The magicians of Egypt did so. They could not do what Moses and Aaron had done - stretch out, that is, a rod over the Nile, and turn it and all its branches, and ponds, and pools, into blood, for this was already done. They could only show their skill upon some small quantity of water in a cup or other vessel. No doubt they produced some apparent change, which was accepted by Pharaoh as an equivalent to what had been effected by the Israelite chiefs, but which must have fallen far short of it. Pharaoh would not be a severe critic.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments,.... Who were either in company with Pharaoh and his nobles, or were immediately sent for to try their art, and confront Moses and Aaron with it; and who very probably got a little water in a vessel, and by some juggling trick imposing upon, and deceiving the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, made it look like blood; and the devil might help them to a sufficient quantity of blood, and discolour the water with it, and make it appear as if it was blood, and which was a poor business; had they turned the bloody river into water again, they would have equalled the miracle of Moses and Aaron, and done some service to their country; but to deceive the sight of people, or to spoil a small quantity of water that was good, by mixing it with blood, was but a mean and unworthy action. Should it be asked from whence they had this water, when all was turned into blood? it may be answered, either from Goshen, as the Targum of Jonathan, the waters of the Hebrews not being affected with this plague: though Aben Ezra thinks they were; or from the sea, as Theodoret; but both these places were too far distant to fetch water from, in the time that Pharaoh stayed here before his return home: rather therefore this water was had from some habitation of the Israelites in the city near at hand, where Pharaoh lived, or was dug for immediately by the magicians, as in Exodus 7:24 or it may be that all the waters were not immediately turned into blood, but successively and gradually, first the river, and then its streams, &c. so that there might be near at hand a pool of water, not yet turned into blood, and a vessel of water might be fetched from it, on which they exercised their juggling art:
and Pharaoh's heart was hardened: by seeing his magicians do what was similar to what Moses and Aaron had done; and therefore concluded that it was not by the hand of God, but owing to a magic art they were masters of, as his magicians were:
neither did he hearken unto them; to Moses and Aaron, and what they said to him, to let the people go:
as the Lord had said; had before told he would not hearken to them, Exodus 7:4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. And the magicians … did so with their enchantments, &c.—Little or no pure water could be procured, and therefore their imitation must have been on a small scale—the only drinkable water available being dug among the sands. It must have been on a sample or specimen of water dyed red with some coloring matter. But it was sufficient to serve as a pretext or command for the king to turn unmoved and go to his house.
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