When Pharaoh shall speak to you, saying, Show a miracle for you: then you shall say to Aaron, Take your rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Shew a miracle for you.—Pharaoh had perhaps heard of the miracles wrought by Aaron before the people of Israel (Exodus 4:30), and was curious to be an eye-witness of one, as was Herod Antipas (Luke 23:8). Or he may have thought that if Moses and Aaron “shewed a miracle,” his own magicians would be able to show greater ones, and he would then dismiss the brothers as charlatans and impostors. He certainly did hot intend to be influenced by any miracle which they might show, or to accept it as evidence that their message to him was a command from God.
A serpent.—Or, a snake. The word is not the same as that used in Exodus 4:3, but appears to be a synonym.Exodus 7:9. Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod — This Moses ordinarily held in his hand, and delivered to Aaron, upon occasion, for the execution of his commands. For this and some other miracles were to be done, not by Moses immediately, but by Aaron, partly, perhaps, to preclude or take off the suspicion that these miracles were wrought by some magic arts of Moses, and partly for the greater honour of Moses, that he might be what God had said, (Exodus 7:1,) a god to Pharaoh, who not only could work miracles himself, but also give power to others to do so. Perhaps the conjecture of Grotius upon this place may be worth mentioning here, which is, that the custom of ambassadors bearing a caduceus, or rod, in their hands, had its origin in this event, being taken up first by the neighbouring nations, and from them communicated to the Greeks and Romans. And it is remarkable that the caduceus of Mercury, the messenger of the gods of Greece and Rome, was formed of two serpents twisted round a rod.Exodus 4:2, which Moses on this occasion gives to Aaron as his representative.
A serpent - A word different from that in Exodus 4:3. Here a more general term, תנין tannı̂yn, is employed, which in other passages includes all sea or river monsters, and is more specially applied to the crocodile as a symbol of Egypt. It occurs in the Egyptian ritual, nearly in the same form, "Tanem," as a synonym of the monster serpent which represents the principle of antagonism to light and life.Say unto Aaron, by whose hands this and other miracles were to be done, and not by Moses immediately; partly to take off the some suspicion that these miracles were wrought by magical artifice of Moses; and partly for the greater honour of Moses, that he might be what God had said, Exodus 7:1, a god to Pharaoh, who not only could work wonders himself, but also give power to others to do so.
Take thy rod: the same rod is called the rod of God, and of Moses, and of Aaron, here and Exodus 7:12, because it was appointed, and as it were consecrated by God, and used both by Moses and Aaron in their great works. And this rod Moses ordinarily held in his hand, and delivered it to Aaron upon occasion for the execution of his commands.
A serpent; Heb. a dragon, which is a great serpent. Others, a crocodile, to whose jaws he had exposed the Israelitish infants.
then thou shalt say unto Aaron, take thy rod; the same that Moses had in his hand at Horeb, and brought with him to Egypt; this he had delivered into the hand of Aaron, who was to be his agent, and with this rod do signs and wonders as he did, and on account of them it is sometimes called the rod of God:
and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent; as it became one before at Horeb, when Moses by the order of God cast it on the ground, and afterwards became a rod again, as it now was, Exodus 4:2 Hence Mercury, the messenger of the gods with the Heathens, is represented as having a "caduceus", a rod or wand twisted about with snakes (p).When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Show a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. shall speak unto you] when you come before him, as directed (Exodus 6:11; Exodus 6:13, Exodus 7:2).
Give (Deuteronomy 6:22, Joel 2:30 Heb.) a portent (v. 3) for you] Or, ‘Give for yourselves a portent’: the pronoun is reflexive, according to very common Heb. idiom, Genesis 6:14 ‘make thee,’ v. 21 ‘take thee,’ Deuteronomy 1:13 ‘give you,’ &c. (Lex. p. 515b).
thy rod] the rod, which in P Aaron regularly bears, v. 19, Exodus 8:5; Exodus 8:16-17.
a serpent] The marg. is added to shew that the word here, and vv. 10, 12, is different from the one below, v. 15, and in Exodus 4:3 (which is the ordinary one for ‘serpent’). Tannin is a large reptile, generally used of a sea-or river-monster (Genesis 1:21, Psalm 74:13), but occasionally also of a land-reptile (Deuteronomy 32:33 EVV. ‘dragon,’ Psalm 91:13 b ‘serpent’). Here the writer will mean either a land-reptile, or possibly a young crocodile.Verse 9. - When Pharaoh shall speak to you, saying, Shew a miracle. It is obvious that there would have been an impropriety in Moses and Aaron offering a sign to Pharaoh until he asked for one. They claimed to be ambassadors of Jehovah, and to speak in his name (Exodus 5:1). Unless they were misdoubted, it was not for them to produce their credentials. Hence they worked no miracle at their former interview. Now, however, the time was come when their credentials would be demanded, and an express command was given them to exhibit the first "sign."
CHAPTER 7:10-13 Exodus 6:12, repeated in Exodus 6:30) was removed by God with the words: "See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh, and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet" (Exodus 7:1). According to Exodus 4:16, Moses was to be a god to Aaron; and in harmony with that, Aaron is here called the prophet of Moses, as being the person who would announce to Pharaoh the revelations of Moses. At the same time Moses was also made a god to Pharaoh; i.e., he was promised divine authority and power over Pharaoh, so that henceforth there was no more necessity for him to be afraid of the king of Egypt, but the latter, notwithstanding all resistance, would eventually bow before him. Moses was a god to Aaron as the revealer of the divine will, and to Pharaoh as the executor of that will. - In Exodus 7:2-5 God repeats in a still more emphatic form His assurance, that notwithstanding the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, He would bring His people Israel out of Egypt. ושׁלּח (Exodus 7:2) does not mean ut dimittat or mittat (Vulg. Ros.; "that he send," Eng. ver.); but ו is vav consec. perf., "and so he will send." On Exodus 7:3 cf. Exodus 4:21.
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