For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4



 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2005 James Melough

7:1.  “And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.”


“I have made thee a god to Pharaoh” means simply that God had appointed Moses to be His representative to Pharaoh; and as the prophets spoke to the people as God’s agents, so had He appointed Aaron to act in that same capacity as Moses’ agent to the Egyptian king.  We should never forget that God has appointed us to be His messengers to the world, to bring them the good news of the Gospel.  A prophet is one who forth-tells God’s Word to the people.


7:2.  “Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.”


What God was about to say to Moses, he in turn was to transmit to his brother Aaron, who was then to declare it to Pharaoh, “Let my people go.  Send them out of Egypt.”  There can be no question that this typifies God’s command to Satan today, for as noted already, Egypt represents the world of business and pleasure living in rebellion against God; and Satan, typified by the Pharaohs, is the prince of this world.  The reluctance of the Egyptian kings to release the Hebrews foreshadows the refusal of Satan to release the myriads whom he also holds in bondage to his evil will.  But God is greater than Satan, and as He, by the dreadful judgments that devastated Egypt, secured the release of His people Israel, so will His more terrible Tribulation judgments desolate Satan’s kingdom, this present evil world, and culminate in the deliverance of the Tribulation age believers, and their establishment on the millennial earth.


7:3.  “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.”


In our study of 6:12 it was noted that Pharaoh first hardened his own heart against God, but now God makes the hardening permanent, and in this we find the typological declaration of the truth declared in Gen 6:3, “My spirit shall not always strive with man,” and in Proverbs 29:1, “He, who being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” and again in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  Be warned.  If you haven’t yet accepted Christ as your Savior, do it now: tomorrow may be too late, continued procrastination carrying you over the invisible line that separates God’s mercy from His wrath, and sealing your eternal doom.


7:4.  “But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.”


God foreknew that the rebellious king would refuse to obey His command, and thus by his disobedience provide Him with the opportunity to glorify Himself in the destruction of Pharaoh and all the land of Egypt.  Every man is given the same opportunity. He may glorify God by confessing himself a sinner, and by trusting in Christ as his Savior, or by refusing to repent, and thereby enabling God to glorify Himself in the destruction of the rebel.  In either case God is magnified: in the one He is glorified by the display of His redeeming love and mercy; in the other by the manifestation of His righteous wrath and judgment.


“... mine armies” is also translated my hosts: my people: my ranks.  The Israelites were God’s armies, and in a day now imminent will occupy the place of supremacy over all the millennial nations.


7:5.  “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”


That past destruction of Egypt, and deliverance and promotion of Israel, were but the foreshadowing of what will be in the fast approaching Tribulation whose judgments will devastate the whole world, and culminate in the salvation and exaltation of Israel, as noted in verse 4.


7:6.  “And Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded them, so did they.”


As already discussed, Moses represents the Law; and Aaron, the Holy Spirit’s illumination of the spiritual meaning woven into the fabric of the literal language of Scripture.  And as those two men executed God’s will, so also do the spiritual principles which they represent fulfill the same function in the life of the obedient believer.  The Holy Spirit, unquenched and ungrieved, enables him to understand God’s Word, and to obey it.


7:7.  “And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.”


Since eight or any multiple thereof is the number of a new beginning, the mention of Moses’ age in the present context points to the beginning of a new era in his life: he was about to begin the great work of leading Israel out of Egyptian bondage, on a forty year journey that would culminate in the passing away of that first generation, and the entrance of their children, a new generation, into the enjoyment of Canaan’s milk and honey.


Aaron’s age being the same, but with an additional three years added (three being the number of resurrection), adds the further spiritual instruction that the Israel he and Moses were to lead out of Egypt, and across the desert to the border of Canaan, were a people who typified the redeemed of this present age.  We too have been delivered from Satan’s thralldom, and are passing through the desert of this world, on our way home to heaven.


7:8.  “And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,”


7:9.  “When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.”


Since Satan is described as “that old serpent, called the Devil,” Revelation 12:9, God’s power to do what He will with Satan is demonstrated in His transforming Aaron’s rod into a serpent.  Satan is merely a creature which God has brought into existence, and which He will ultimately consign to the eternal torment of the lake of fire.  He has no more power than that with which God has endowed him, nor can he use that given power beyond what God permits.


In Aaron’s casting down the rod which became a serpent, we may have an oblique reminder that Satan has also been “cast down” from the exalted position in which God had originally placed him, see Isaiah 14:12-17.


7:10.  “And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the Lord had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent.”


God did as He had promised.  The rod became a serpent.


7:11.  “Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.”


It is a mistake to underestimate the power of Satan.  Note, for example, what is written in Jude 9, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”


7:12.  “For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.”


By what satanic chicanery these rods were seemingly transformed into serpents isn’t explained, nor has speculation furnished any clue; but since only God can create anything, it must be concluded that the magicians, by jugglery, gave the appearance of having created them.  Satan is the master of delusion, but he cannot create life.


God’s omnipotence is attested by the miracle of Aaron’s rod swallowing up these others.


7:13.  “And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.”


This hardening of Pharaoh’s heart was permitted but not compelled by God; and so is it with all who rebel against the Almighty.  He neither compels men to be saved, nor does He compel them to continue in sin.   Whether a man will be in eternal bliss in heaven, or in eternal torment in hell and the lake of fire, will be the result of his own free willed choice.


7:14.  “And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.”


7:15.  “Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river’s brink against he come; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand.”


God knows not only man’s deeds and words, but also his thoughts. He knew exactly where Pharaoh would be, and what he would be doing in the morning, and He directed Moses accordingly.


7:16.  “And thou shalt say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear.”


7:17.  “Thus saith the Lord, In this thou shalt know that I am the Lord: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.”


God’s patience was nearing an end.  Up to this point He had simply asked Pharaoh to obey His commands, but now He was

about to give warning that continued disobedience would be fraught with dire consequences.


7:18.  “And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink of the water of the river.”


The whole life of Egypt was dependent on the Nile, for it consists of a long strip of fertile land approximately ten to fifteen miles wide on either side of the river, there being only desert beyond, for there is virtually no rainfall.  The fish constituted a large part of the Egyptians’ food, and the Nile was their only source of water.  In fact the river was one of the gods they worshiped, so that God’s smiting the river should have taught them that He alone is God, and that all other so-called gods were but the inventions of their own deluded minds.


It may be profitable at this point to note that Egypt represents the world of business and pleasure; and the Nile, the great river of wealth that “waters” that rebellious godless world.  But the Nile ends in a marshy delta where the parent stream divides into a multitude of smaller branches that eventually become lost in the sea, and so is it with the great river of this world’s wealth: it too leads nowhere, and has to be abandoned when the soul goes out into the infinite “sea” of eternity: to heaven or hell depending on whether the individual died as a believer or as an unbeliever.


We might note in passing that the Euphrates, Babylon’s great river, has much in common with the Nile, and has an identical ending: it too leads nowhere, being lost in a myriad of smaller branches as it enters the sea.  But the Euphrates represents the river of false religion which “waters” this unbelieving world spiritually, the parallel between it and the Nile demonstrating symbolically that mere Christless religion, like worldly wealth, leads only to eternal loss.


The dead fish, and the stinking water are fitting symbols of the world’s godless religious systems (including apostate Christianity), for it is to be remembered that the Lord likened men and women to fish in the great sea of humanity; and believers as those whom He has taken out of that sea in the net of the Gospel, and has made to be “fishers of men,” see Matthew 4:19 and Mark 1:17  Eternity will reveal all those religious systems for what they are: spiritually dead and corrupt, the dead fish in the Nile representing men in their natural state: “dead in trespasses and sins,” Ephesians 2:1, while the bloody water speaks clearly of the deadliness of mere religion apart from faith in Christ as Savior, its lethal nature being portrayed in the bloody Nile water, for as that water was unfit to drink so is mere Christless religion a deadly thing.


7:19.  “And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.”


7:20.  “And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.”


7:21.  “And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.”


As noted above, the Nile represents the great river of wealth that waters the realm of the world’s business, so that the turning of the water to blood continues to announce symbolically that everything connected with the world’s vast commercial enterprises ends ultimately in death.


The vessels of wood and stone may represent both the world’s commercial entities, and the men involved with them; the wood portraying the lowliest; and the stone, the greatest of both men and enterprises.


7:22.  “And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the Lord had said.”


The question has been asked how the Egyptian magicians could have duplicated the miracle since the waters had already been turned to blood and all the fish had died.  The very reasonable explanation however, is that they repeated the miracle after the seven day interval, at the end of which the Lord had allowed the water to return to its normal color, see verse 25.


“... and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened” doesn’t mean that God had hardened it, but that the king himself refused to bow to God’s will


7:23.  “And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.”


“... neither did he set his heart to this also” means that he continued to ignore the warnings God was giving him, each rejection bringing him nearer to that final fatal moment when he would exhaust God’s patience, and seal his own doom, as it is written, “He, who being often reproved hardens his neck, shall be suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” Proverbs 29:1.


7:24.  “And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river.”


7:25.  “And seven days were fulfilled, after that the lord had smitten the river.”


This seems to indicate that after seven days God ended the plague, permitting the Nile to become water again; and that during the seven days some water was available in response to their digging wells in the ground adjoining the river.

[Exodus 8]


     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
© 2000-2005 James Melough