Exodus 4:9
And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.
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(9) Shall become blood.—The verb is repeated in the Hebrew, which intensifies the assertion. The English equivalent of the phrase used would be, “shall assuredly become.” The signs were, no doubt, selected primarily for facility of exhibition; but they may also have been intended to be significant. The change of a rod into a serpent showed that a feeble implement might become a power to chastise and to destroy. That of a healthy into a leprous hand, and the reverse, indicated that Moses’s mission was both to punish and to save; while the change of water into blood suggested—albeit vaguely—the conversion of that peace and prosperity, which Egypt was enjoying, into calamity, suffering, and bloodshed.

4:1-9 Moses objects, that the people would not take his word, unless he showed them some sign. God gives him power to work miracles. But those who are now employed to deliver God's messages to men, need not the power to work miracles: their character and their doctrines are to be tried by that word of God to which they appeal. These miracles especially referred to the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ. It belonged to Him only, to cast the power of the devil out of the soul, and to heal the soul of the leprosy of sin; and so it was for Him first to cast the devil out of the body, and to heal the leprosy of the body.Leprous - The instantaneous production and cure of the most malignant and subtle disease known to the Israelites was a sign of their danger if they resisted the command, and of their deliverance if they obeyed it. The infliction and cure were always regarded as special proofs of a divine intervention. 9. take of the water of the river—Nile. Those miracles, two of which were wrought then, and the third to be performed on his arrival in Goshen, were at first designed to encourage him as satisfactory proofs of his divine mission, and to be repeated for the special confirmation of his embassy before the Israelites. The river Nile, well known to Moses, and called so by way of eminency, as Euphrates also is. Shall become, Heb. shall be, even shall be, i.e. it shall assuredly be so.

And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs,.... Performed before their eyes; for these were done over again when Moses came into Egypt to the Israelites, and yet some of them might still remain unbelievers to his commission, and so to the voice of these signs, which loudly called for their faith:

neither hearken unto thy voice; affirming he came from God, and was sent to be the deliverer of them:

that thou shalt take of the water of the river; of the river Nile, when he should come into Egypt; wherefore Josephus (q) is mistaken when he intimates that this was done at the same time with the other signs; and was water he took near at hand and poured on the ground: but Philo (r) truly refers this to Egypt, where it was done, as it ought to be:

and pour it upon the dry land, and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land; by which it would appear how easily the Lord could destroy the land of Egypt, and make it a barren land, whose fertility was owing to the overflow of the river Nile as a means; and this would be a specimen also of what he would do hereafter, in turning the waters of the river into blood, thereby avenging the blood of innocent babes drowned there by the Egyptians.

(q) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 12. sect. 3.((r) De Vita Mosis, l. 1. p. 614.

And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the {c} water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

(c) Because these three signs should be sufficient witnesses to prove that Moses should deliver God's people.

9. The third sign, to be resorted to only if necessary. Water taker from the Nile, and poured upon the earth, to be turned into blood.

the river (twice)] the Nile (Heb. ye’ôr): see on Exodus 1:22.

Verse 9. - If they will not believe also. "Even" would be a better translation than "also." The river is of course "the Nile." See the comment on Exodus 2:3. Of the three signs given, the first would probably convince all those who were religious, well-disposed, and fair-minded; the second, acting upon their fears, would move all but the desperately wicked, who despised Jehovah and put their trust in the gods of the Egyptians (Joshua 24:14; Ezekiel 20:7, 8; Ezekiel 23:3, 8, etc.). The third sign was for these last, who would regard the Nile as a great divinity, and would see in the conversion of Nile water into blood a significant indication that the God who had commissioned Moses was greater than any Egyptian one. Exodus 4:9The Third Sign. - If the first two signs should not be sufficient to lead the people to believe in the divine mission of Moses, he was to give them one more practical demonstration of the power which he had received to overcome the might and gods of Egypt. He was to take of the water of the Nile (the river, Genesis 41:1) and pour it upon the dry land, and it would become blood (the second והיוּ is a resumption of the first, cf. Exodus 12:41). The Nile received divine honours as the source of every good and all prosperity in the natural life of Egypt, and was even identified with Osiris (cf. Hengstenberg, Egypt and the Books of Moses, p. 109 transl.). If Moses therefore had power to turn the life-distributing water of the Nile into blood, he must also have received power to destroy Pharaoh and his gods. Israel was to learn this from the sign, whilst Pharaoh and the Egyptians were afterwards to experience this might of Jehovah in the form of punishment (Exodus 7:15.). Thus Moses as not only entrusted with the word of God, but also endowed with the power of God; and as he was the first God-sent prophet, so was he also the first worker of miracles, and in this capacity a type of the Apostle of our profession (Hebrews 3:1), even the God-man, Christ Jesus.
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