Saturday, July 10, 2004

Exodus 7

Moses is eighty at the time of this chapter, making him a venerable figure in his own right. That his elder brother serves him as his prophet, as Esau served Jacob, also elevates Moses.

The chapter says, "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'See, I have made you like a God to Pharaoh..." The word god is "Elohim," meaning master. This is remarkable; no other biblical figure except Jesus is exalted as high as Moses. Only Moses' humility, the shame of stammering so extreme that it leads him into disobedience to God, made this possible.

The staff that becomes a snake has been transferred from Moses to Aaron and the staff serves as the instrumentality of the two miracles that Aaron performs. The Pharaoh manages to fool himself that he is safe because his magicians can turn their staffs into snakes. He is not impressed by the dominance Aaron's staff exhibits over the magicians' staffs.

Pharaoh is not even frightened by the water of the Nile turning to blood, killing the fish. This is extraordinary, since the Nile was so central to life in Egypt that it assumed godlike proportions. Apparently the Nile cleanses itself, since Moses does not reverse the turning of the river into blood.

Also note that this plague, like that of the frogs and that of the gnats, appears to afflict the Hebrews as well as the Egyptians. Unlike the plague of flies, we are not instructed that things are different in Goshen. This suggests that commentators who associate the blood with that of the slain Hebrew children are probably wrong.


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