Exodus 7:9
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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(9) 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.

Thy rod.—The rod is now called Aaron’s, because Moses had entrusted him with it. (Comp. Exodus 7:19, and Exodus 8:5; Exodus 8:16-17.)

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.7:8-13 What men dislike, because it opposes their pride and lusts, they will not be convinced of; but it is easy to cause them to believe things they wish to be true. God always sends with his word full proofs of its Divine authority; but when men are bent to disobey, and willing to object, he often permits a snare to be laid wherein they are entangled. The magicians were cheats, trying to copy the real miracles of Moses by secret sleights or jugglings, which to a small extent they succeeded in doing, so as to deceive the bystanders, but they were at length obliged to confess they could not any longer imitate the effects of Divine power. None assist more in the destruction of sinners, than such as resist the truth by amusing men with a counterfeit resemblance of it. Satan is most to be dreaded when transformed into an angel of light.Thy rod - Apparently the rod before described 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.

9. When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, &c.—The king would naturally demand some evidence of their having been sent from God; and as he would expect the ministers of his own gods to do the same works, the contest, in the nature of the case, would be one of miracles. Notice has already been taken of the rod of Moses (Ex 4:2), but rods were carried also by all nobles and official persons in the court of Pharaoh. It was an Egyptian custom, and the rods were symbols of authority or rank. Hence God commanded His servants to use a rod. 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. When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, show a miracle for you,.... To prove that they came from God, the Jehovah they said they did, and that they were his ambassadors, and came in his name, and made the demand for him; which when he seriously reflected on things, he would be ready to require, hoping they would not be able to show any, and then he should have somewhat against them, and treat them as impostors:

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).

(p) Vid. Chartar. de Imag. Deorum, p. 136. imag. 48.

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.
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 Moses' last difficulty (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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