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“I Will Stretch Out My Hand”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now hear this: I make you as God to Pharaoh [to declare My will and purpose to him]; and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go out of his land. And I will make Pharaoh’s heart hard, and multiply My signs and My wonders (miracles) in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not listen to you, and I shall lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts [like a defensive army, tribe by tribe], My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment (the plagues). The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” And Moses and Aaron did so; just as the Lord commanded them, so they did. Now Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Aaron’s Rod Becomes a Serpent

Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Work a miracle [to prove your authority],’ then you say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, so that it may become a serpent.’” 10 So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and did just as the Lord had commanded; Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh called for the wise men [skilled in magic and omens] and the sorcerers [skilled in witchcraft], and they also, these magicians (soothsayer-priests) of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts and enchantments. 12 For every [a]man threw down his staff and they turned into serpents; but Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

Water Is Turned to Blood

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water, and wait for him on the bank of the Nile; and you shall take in your hand the staff that was turned into a serpent. 16 You shall say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you, saying, “Let My people go, so that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now.” 17 Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know and recognize and acknowledge that I am the Lord: look, with the staff in my hand I will strike the water in the Nile, and it shall be turned to blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the Nile will become foul, and the Egyptians will not be able to drink water from the Nile.”’” 19 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, so that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, in containers both of wood and of stone.’”

20 So Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded; Aaron lifted up the staff and struck the waters in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river became foul smelling, and the Egyptians could not drink its water, and there was blood throughout [b]all the land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the [c]same by their secret arts and enchantments; so Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. 23 Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this [divine sign] to heart. 24 So all the Egyptians dug near the river for water to drink, because they could not drink the water of the Nile. 25 Seven days passed after the Lord had struck the Nile.

Frogs over the Land

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let My people go, so that they may serve Me. However, if you refuse to let them go, hear this: I am going to strike your entire land with frogs. The Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your home, into your bedroom and on to your bed, and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. So the frogs will come up on you and on your people and all your servants.”’” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the streams and canals, over the pools [among the reeds], and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’” So Aaron stretched out his hand [with his staff] over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. But the magicians (soothsayer-priests) did the same thing with their secret arts and enchantments, and [d]brought up [more] frogs on the land of Egypt.

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Plead with the Lord that He may take away the frogs from me and my people; and I will let the people go, so that they may sacrifice to the Lord.” And Moses said to Pharaoh, “I am entirely at your service: when shall I plead [with the Lord] for you and your servants and your people, so that the frogs may leave you and your houses and remain only in the Nile?”

10 Then Pharaoh said, “[e]Tomorrow.” Moses replied, “May it be as you say, so that you may know [without any doubt] and acknowledge that there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your houses and leave your servants and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.” 12 So Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, and Moses cried out to the Lord [as he had agreed to do] concerning the frogs which God had inflicted on Pharaoh. 13 The Lord did as Moses asked, and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courtyards and villages, and out of the fields. 14 So they piled them up in heaps, and the land was detestable and stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was [temporary] relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen or pay attention to them, just as the Lord had said.

The Plagues of Gnats and Insects

16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground, and it will become [biting] gnats (lice) throughout the land of Egypt.’” 17 They did so; Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and there were [biting] gnats on man and animal. All the dust of the land became gnats through all the land of Egypt. 18 The magicians (soothsayer-priests) tried by their secret arts and enchantments to create gnats, but they could not; and there were gnats on man and animal. 19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the [supernatural] finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

20 Now the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh as he is coming out to the water [of the Nile], and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let My people go, so that they may serve Me. 21 For if you do not let My people go, hear this: I will send swarms of [bloodsucking] insects on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of insects, as well as the ground on which they stand. 22 But on that day I will separate and set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of insects will be there, so that you may know [without any doubt] and acknowledge that I, the Lord, am in the midst of the earth. 23 I will [f]put a division (distinction) between My people and your people. By tomorrow this sign shall be in evidence.”’” 24 Then the Lord did so. And there came heavy and oppressive swarms of [bloodsucking] insects into the house of Pharaoh and his servants’ houses; in all the land of Egypt the land was corrupted and ruined because of the [great invasion of] insects.

25 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God [here] in the land [of Egypt].” 26 But Moses said, “It is not right [or even possible] to do that, for we will sacrifice to the Lord our God what is repulsive and unacceptable to the Egyptians [that is, animals that the Egyptians consider sacred]. If we sacrifice what is repulsive and unacceptable to the Egyptians, will they not riot and stone us? 27 We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He commands us.” 28 So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, so that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Plead [with your God] for me.” 29 Moses said, “I am going to leave you, and I will urgently petition (pray, entreat) the Lord that the swarms of insects may leave Pharaoh, his servants, and his people tomorrow; only do not let Pharaoh act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”

30 So Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord [on behalf of Pharaoh]. 31 The Lord did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of [bloodsucking] insects from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.

Egyptian Livestock Die

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: “Let My people go, so that they may serve Me. But if you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them, now hear this: the hand of the Lord will fall on your livestock which are out in the field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks—a horrible plague shall come. But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing that belongs to the Israelites will die.”’” The Lord set a [definite] time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.” And the Lord did this thing the next day, and all [kinds of] the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the Israelites, not one died. Then Pharaoh sent [men to investigate], and not even one of the livestock of the Israelites had died. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened [and his mind was firmly set], and he did not let the people go.

The Plague of Boils

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the brick kiln, and let Moses throw it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh. It will become fine dust over the entire land of Egypt, and it will become boils breaking out in sores on man and animal in all the land [occupied by the Egyptians].” 10 So they took soot from the kiln, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it toward the sky, and it became boils erupting in sores on man and animal. 11 The magicians (soothsayer-priests) could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians. 12 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen or pay attention to them, just as the Lord had told Moses.

13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, “Let My people go, so that they may serve Me. 14 For this time I will send all My plagues [g]on you [in full force,] and on your servants and on your people, so that you may know [without any doubt] and acknowledge that there is no one like Me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have put out My hand and struck you and your people with a pestilence, and you would then have been cut off (obliterated) from the earth. 16 But indeed for this very reason I have allowed you to live, in order to show you My power and in order that My name may be proclaimed throughout all the earth.(A)

The Plague of Hail

17 Since you are still [arrogantly] exalting yourself [in defiance] against My people by not letting them go, 18 hear this: tomorrow about this time I will send a very heavy and dreadful hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19 Now therefore send [a message], bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety. Every man and animal that is in the field and is not brought home shall be struck by the hail and shall die.”’” 20 Then everyone among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses and shelters; 21 but everyone who [h]ignored and did not take seriously the word of the Lord left his servants and his livestock in the field.

22 Now the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand [with your staff] toward the sky, so that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man and on animal and on all the vegetation of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.” 23 Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning (fireballs) ran down to the earth and along the ground. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt. 24 So there was hail, and lightning (fireballs) flashing intermittently in the midst of the extremely heavy hail, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 The hail struck down everything that was in the field throughout all the land of Egypt, both man and animal; the hail struck and beat down all the plants in the field and shattered every tree in the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel lived, was there no hail.

27 Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time; the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. 28 Pray and entreat the Lord, for there has been enough of God’s [i]thunder and hail; I will let you go, and you shall stay here no longer.” 29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I leave the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord; the thunder will cease and there will be no more hail, so that you may know [without any doubt] and acknowledge that the earth is the Lord’s. 30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.” 31 (Now the flax and the barley were battered and ruined [by the hail], because the barley was in the ear (ripe, but soft) and the flax was in bud, 32 but the wheat and spelt (coarse wheat) were not battered and ruined, because they ripen late in the season.) 33 So Moses left the city and Pharaoh, and stretched out his hands to the Lord; then the [j]thunder and hail ceased, and rain no longer poured on the earth. 34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, both he and his servants. 35 Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.(B)

Footnotes

  1. Exodus 7:12 Jannes and Jambres may have been among this group of Egyptian sorcerers. See 2 Tim 3:8.
  2. Exodus 7:21 At least some of the ground water was spared, and the Egyptians were forced to dig for it (v 24).
  3. Exodus 7:22 Perhaps the priests were able to change a small quantity of the blood back into water or vice-versa. That would explain why Pharaoh took the problem so lightly (v 23).
  4. Exodus 8:7 If the magicians had possessed true power they would have halted the plagues, not exacerbated them.
  5. Exodus 8:10 Pharaoh’s answer suggests that he still did not have an understanding of God’s power, since he could have requested the immediate removal of the frogs.
  6. Exodus 8:23 Lit set a ransom.
  7. Exodus 9:14 Lit to your heart.
  8. Exodus 9:21 Lit did not set his heart on.
  9. Exodus 9:28 Lit sounds.
  10. Exodus 9:33 Lit sounds.

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