Exodus 7 - Outline of Exodus (Book Notes menu page)
(Read Ex 6:28-30 as the opening to chapter 7.)
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.
{cp. Ex 4:15,16}
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.
7:3 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart,
and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.
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.
7:5 And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD,
{cp. Ex 5:2}
when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt,
and bring out the children of Israel from among them.
7:6 And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they.
7:7 And Moses [was] fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old,
when they spake unto Pharaoh.
The Lord met Moses' inadequacy with the sufficiency of Himself.
Again, He provided him with a prophetic overview of what would transpire through his obedience.
I will harden Pharaoh's heart...- This theme runs through the accounts of the 10 plagues.
Does this imply that the Lord caused Pharaoh to sin? No.
This hardening is described in the following ways in ch. 4-14:
  • The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart. (occurs 9x)
  • Pharaoh hardened his heart. (occurs 3x)
  • Pharaoh's heart was hardened (without stating by whom). (occurs 5x)
There are two aspects of this hardening (see the Notes at 4:21) -
  1. the personal- involving Pharaoh's free will.
  2. the judicial- involving God's sovereignty.
There are three Hebrew words which are translated 'harden':
  1. Qashah- to make stiff or unbendable. (In this context, this word is used only in 7:3.)
    In the NT, this word corresponds to the GK=scleruno, 'to make stiff,' translated 'hardened' in Rom 9:17-24 where the emphasis is on the sovereignty of God.
  2. Chazaq- to make strong, to strengthen. cp. word usage in...
    • Josh 14:11 (Caleb was 'strong'); and
    • Dan 10:17-19 (Daniel was 'strengthened.')
      Note that Daniel had no strength in himself, but found his strength in the sovereign LORD.
    This is the word used most frequently, where we read 'the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart.'
    (Ex 4:21; 9:12; 10:20,27; 11:10; 14:4,8,17)
    ie., The LORD 'strengthened' Pharaoh's heart to do what Pharaoh's heart desired (which was to rebel against the LORD's sovereignty).
    This word is used in 7:22; 8:19; 9:35, where the active agent is not identified.
    ie., "Pharaoh's heart was 'strengthened' (in his willful rebellion)."
  3. Kabed- to make heavy, to honor. cp. word usage in... This was precisely Pharaoh's condition: He honored himself above God.
    • God allowed him to do so, in Ex 10:1, "I have hardened {lit., honored} his heart..."
      but warned him, in 10:3, "How long will you refuse to humble yourself?"
    • Pharaoh took the prerogative in Ex 8:15,32; 9:34: "Pharaoh hardened {honored} his heart."
    • The active agent is not identified, in 7:14; 9:7, ie., "Pharaoh's heart was 'honored'."
    Pharaoh honored himself, willfully rejecting the LORD's sovereignty, and refusing to submit to Him. The LORD 'honored' Pharaoh, by allowing him to set the course of his heart, until his heart condition was set {hard and unbendable}.
    [For another look at the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, see the Book Notes at Romans 9:14-24.]
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.
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.
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.
7:12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents:
but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.
7:13 And he hardened
{HB=chazaq, strengthened} Pharaoh's heart,
that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
7:14 And the LORD said unto Moses,
Pharaoh's heart [is] hardened
{HB=kabed, honored}, he refuseth to let the people go.
The following elements may be observed in this sign and each of the ten plagues...
  • Judgment upon a false god of Egypt to show that the LORD alone is God.
    (cp., Ex 14:18; 15:11; 18:11)
  • The reaction of Egypt's religious leaders (the magicians).
  • The response of Pharaoh.
A sign: the rod becomes a serpent (cp. Ex 4:2,3,17)
  • False gods judged - the serpent (or crocodile). In Ex 4:3, 'serpent' is HB= nachash, a snake.
    Here (v.10,12), 'serpent' is HB= tanniym, crocodile, sea monster, dragon. These words have satanic overtones (cp. Isa 27:1). The crocodile figured prominently in Egyptian religion, as that which dwelt in the sacred Nile River. There was a temple to the crocodile god at the city of Tanis.
  • Magicians' response - imitation.
    Satan's opposition to the Truth of God takes two forms (in this order):
    1. Opposition by violence (eg., the attempt to kill the deliverer: Moses, Ex 2:15; Jesus, Mat 2:16-19).
    2. Corruption by counterfeit (eg., the magicians, v.11; false believers, 2Tim 3:1-9).
      This is the opposition of Jannes and Jambres (2Tim 3).
      Their folly is made known when they...
      1. fail to imitate all that is of God (Ex 8:18,19).
      2. become subject to judgment, by the power of God which they had denied (Ex 9:11). [CHM]
  • God's answer - The 'rod of God' swallowed up the satanic counterfeits. cp. Heb 2:14; Rev 12:9
  • Pharaoh's response - his heart was hardened,
    he hearkened not {would not listen, or give heed} to Moses & Aaron.
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
{ie., to encounter him};
and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand.
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.
7:18 And the fish that [is] in the river shall die, and the river shall stink;
and the Egyptians shall lothe
{loathe} to drink of the water of the river.
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.
7:22 And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments:
and Pharaoh's heart was hardened
{HB=chazaq, strengthened},
neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.
7:23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house,
neither did he set his heart to this also.
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.
Plague #1- The water turned into blood - (cp. Ex 4:9)
  • False gods judged - The river itself, as the life-blood of the nation, was considered a god (Nilus).
    This word for 'river' {HB= ya'or; occurring 14x in v.15-25} is of Egyptian origin. More than half of the biblical occurrences of this word refer to the Nile.
    The functions of many of the other Egyptian gods were related to the Nile.
    (eg., Osiris, responsible for the the life forces and fertility of nature; and Isis, mythological goddess, sister and wife of Osiris. Credited with his resurrection, she was regarded as having power over the afterlife. Having birthed his son, Horus, on the bank of the Nile, she was regarded as spiritual mother of the pharaohs.)
  • God's answer - The river, which was worshipped as the source
    of prosperity and life (physical and spiritual) became a putrid place of death.
  • Magicians' response - They imitated the contamination of the waters,
    but they could not reverse it. They also had to dig near the river to obtain drinking water.
  • Pharaoh's response - His heart was hardened. He did not consider it worthy of his attention.
    cp. The future judgments on the world system (Rev 8:8; 16:3-6).
    cf. The river {HB= nachar, stream} of God. Psa 36:7-9; 46:4,5; Eze 47:9; Rev 22:1

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