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Yahweh answered Moses, “I have made you a god to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron is your prophet. Tell your brother Aaron everything I command you, and he must tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave the country. But I will make Pharaoh stubborn. Even though I will do many miraculous signs and amazing things in Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will use my power to punish Egypt severely, and I will bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt in organized family groups. The Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh when I use my power against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of there.”

Moses and Aaron did as Yahweh had commanded them. Moses was 80 years old and Aaron was 83 when they talked to Pharaoh.

Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Give me a sign to prove that God has sent you,’ tell Aaron, ‘Take your shepherd’s staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh,’ and it will become a large snake.”

10 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did as Yahweh had commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a large snake. 11 Then Pharaoh sent for his wise men and sorcerers. These Egyptian magicians did the same thing using their magic spells. 12 Each of them threw his staff down, and they all became large snakes. But Aaron’s staff swallowed theirs. 13 Yet, Pharaoh continued to be stubborn and would not listen to them, as Yahweh had predicted.

The First Plague—The Nile River Turns into Blood

14 Then Yahweh said to Moses, “Pharaoh is being stubborn. He refuses to let my people go. 15 In the morning meet Pharaoh when he’s on his way to the Nile. Wait for him on the bank of the river. Take along the staff that turned into a snake. 16 Say to him, ‘Yahweh Elohim of the Hebrews sent me to tell you, “Let my people go to worship me in the desert.” So far you have not listened. 17 Here is what Yahweh says: This is the way you will recognize that I am Yahweh: With this staff in my hand, I’m going to strike the Nile, and the water will turn into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink. The Egyptians will not be able to drink any water from the Nile.’”

19 Yahweh said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—its rivers, canals, ponds, and all its reservoirs—so that they turn into blood. There will be blood everywhere in Egypt, even in the wooden and stone containers.’”

20 Moses and Aaron did as Yahweh had commanded. In front of Pharaoh and his officials, Aaron raised his staff and struck the Nile. All the water in the river turned into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and it smelled so bad that the Egyptians couldn’t drink any water from the river. There was blood everywhere in Egypt.

22 But the Egyptian magicians did the same thing using their magic spells. So Pharaoh continued to be stubborn and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, as Yahweh had predicted. 23 Pharaoh turned and went back to his palace. He dismissed the entire matter from his mind.

24 All the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink because they couldn’t drink any of the water from the river.

25 Seven days passed after Yahweh struck the Nile.