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Bible Commentaries

Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

Exodus 7

Verses 1-13

CHAPTERS 6:28-7:13 The Renewed Commission and Before Pharaoh Again

1. Renewed commission and renewed hesitation (Exodus 6:28-30 )

2. Jehovah’s instructions (Exodus 7:1-9 )

3. Before Pharaoh and the sign of the rod (Exodus 7:10-13 )

Once more Moses received his commission, and again he hesitated on account of his poor speech. After all the gracious words Jehovah had spoken he pleads again his weakness. It shows what the unbelieving heart is. Twice Jehovah said that Moses should be a god. A god to Aaron (4:16) and a god to Pharaoh (7:1). He received divine authority and power over Pharaoh, while he was to his spokesman Aaron a god, because the word he uttered to him to communicate to Pharaoh was the word of the Lord. “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” This was stated before in chapter 4:21. Eighteen times we read of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. However, different words are used in the Hebrew to show an important distinction. One means to “make firm” or “strong.” The other, “to make stubborn.” These two words show Pharaoh’s hardening of his own heart and God’s hardening after he continued in his wicked way. After it is five times declared that Pharaoh hardened his heart, then God began His hardening and made Pharaoh’s heart stubborn. Pharaoh hardened himself, then God hardened him. Pharaoh had his opportunities and as he refused and continued in unbelief, God made him stubborn. God hardens as a judicial act because man refuses His Word. God never hardens first nor compels a man to be an unbeliever. A solemn warning is contained in this. Thousands harden their hearts now, and ere long apostate Christendom will be hardened by God without remedy (2 Thessalonians 2:0 ).

Moses’ age was 80 years and Aaron’s 83 when they spoke to Pharaoh. They are before the monarch to show a miracle. Moses did not use his rod as before the elders of Israel , but it was Aaron’s rod which was cast down and became a serpent. There is likewise another word used for serpent. In chapter 4:3, it is _nachash, the same word as in Genesis 3:0 . But the word used in chapter 7 is _thanin, which the Septuagint translates dragon. This does not show that there were two different records, but that the two events have a different significance. Aaron’s rod, which later blossomed, is the type of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the mighty victor over Satan, sin and death. Aaron’s rod swallowing the rods of the magicians of Egypt seems to indicate the complete triumph of Jehovah over him who has the power of death.

The question is, was the action of the magicians a real miracle or produced by juggling? Snake charming was carried on in ancient Egypt . However, these magicians were the instruments of Satan, who manifested his power through them. What they did were “lying wonders.” The names of two of these endued with demoniacal powers are given in 2 Timothy 3:8 , Jannes and Jambres. Such manifestation of demon power is found today in spiritualism and will be fully revealed during the days of Antichrist at the end of this age (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ). Pharaoh’s heart was hardened (literal translation) because he wilfully rejected the sign given.

Verses 14-25

4. The Nine Plagues and the Tenth Judgment Announced

CHAPTER 7:14-25 The First Plague

1. The plague announced (Exodus 7:14-19 )

2. The judgment executed (Exodus 7:20-25 )

Nine judgment plagues follow, and after they had passed, the tenth, the great judgment, fell upon Egypt. There are striking and different characteristics of these plagues. Aaron uses his rod in the beginning of the plagues, while Moses stretches out his rod and hand in the last three, not counting the slaying of the firstborn. Some of them were announced beforehand, others were not announced and came without warning. We give them now in their order:

1. Water turned into blood;

2. Frogs;

3. Lice;

4. Flies;

5. Murrain;

6. Boils;

7. Hail;

8. Locusts;

9. Darkness (see Psalms 105:26-36 ).

The process of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart progresses with these judgments till God hardened him completely. After the first plague his heart was hardened (or firm) and deliberately he set himself to do this. Note this process in chapters 8:15; 8:19; 8:31; and 9:7. When this present age closes with the great tribulation and the vials of God’s wrath are poured out upon an unbelieving world, the hearts of the earthdwellers and Christ rejectors will be hardened and thus ripe for the day of wrath. The book of Revelation acquaints us with this solemn fact.

“The plagues of Egypt are founded on the natural features which Egypt presents, so that they are unprecedented and extraordinary, not so much in themselves, as on account of their power and extent, and their rapid succession when Moses simply gives the command. As they are, consequently, both natural and supernatural, they afford both to faith and to unbelief the freedom to choose (in Pharaoh, unbelief prevailed); they are, besides, adapted to convince the Egyptians that Jehovah is not merely the national God of the Israelites, but a God above all gods, who holds in his hand all the powers of nature likewise, which Egypt was accustomed to deify” (J.H. Kurtz).

The water of the river Nile was turned into blood. The Nile was worshipped by the Egyptians and now this great river was polluted. Strange that even orthodox commentators can state that the change in the water was a change in color produced by red earth or by a certain water plant. But we know a real change took place, for the water stank and the fish died. Thus the Nile , known as Osiris, became an object of abomination and death. The messengers of Satan imitated this miracle also. This plague lasted seven days.

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Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Exodus 7". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/exodus-7.html. 1913-1922.