Exodus Chapter 7
Verses 1-13: (Verse 3), says “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart,” but (verse 4), says “Pharaoh shall not hearken unto” [obey, listen to] “you”. Then (verse 13), is to be translated “and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened” meaning by the setting of his own will against God. The miracle worked in verse 12 gains additional significance through the fact that the word of “serpent” (tanim) is used in later prophecies as a symbol of Pharaoh (the monster of Isaiah 30:6; 51:9; Ezek. 29:3; 32:2). The names of the two sorcerers here (Jannes and Jambres), were preserved in a Targum (an Aramaic paraphrase of a portion of the Hebrew Old Testament), and mentioned by Paul (2 Tim. 3:8). The tremendous miracles God performed through Moses in Egypt called forth the fullest display of Satan’s “lying wonders,” even as it shall be at the end of this age (Matt. 24:24; 2 Thess. 2:9).
Exodus 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.”
“A god to Pharaoh”: Moses, as the spokesman and ambassador for God, would speak with authority and power. “Thy prophet”: Aaron, as the divinely appointed spokesman for Moses, would forthrightly deliver the message given to him (Acts 14:11-13), where Barnabas and Paul were so perceived in a similar situation.
This simply means that Moses would represent the One who sent him to Pharaoh, not that Moses would be God to him.
We see an unusual statement here. God was not annoyed with Moses and his lack of faith in his ability to do enough to get Pharaoh to let them go. God encouraged Moses by telling him that Pharaoh would believe he was a god. Moses would be allowed of God to do such fantastic miracles in the sight of Pharaoh. At some point Pharaoh would realize he was no match with Moses’ God.
Moses was a little bit in awe of Pharaoh because of his worldly power, but now God had reassured Moses that through the power of the Spirit, Pharaoh can’t win. Aaron would be Moses’ spokesman. Moses would receive the message from God and Aaron would speak it to Pharaoh in the presence of Moses.
Exodus 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.”
That is, to Aaron his prophet, whatever the Lord made known to him in a private manner as his will to be done.
“And Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh”: Whatsoever should be told him by Moses, as from the Lord:
“That he send the children of Israel out of his land”: This was the principal thing to be insisted upon; and all that was said or done to him was to bring about this end, the dismissal of the children of Israel out of Egypt.
We can easily see the chain of command here. God commanded Moses, Moses gives the message to Aaron and Aaron spoke to the Pharaoh. Every message and every miracle done would be to cause Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go.
Exodus 7:3 “And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.”
“Signs” were miracles done as credentials, to prove a mission (Exodus 4:8-9; 4:30).
“Wonders” were miracles generally; niphle’oth, also translated “wonders”. (Exodus 3:20), were miracles, brought in the way of punishment. These are called also “judgments” (see Exodus 7:4).
In a previous lesson, we discussed why God would harden Pharaoh’s heart. I personally believe that these ten plagues had to come so that God could show these Egyptians that their gods were false gods, and were no match for the real God. “Ten” has to do with world government. God was dealing against the world system here and that is why we will see ten plagues. The ten plagues that come would each be in direct attack of one of Egypt’s false gods.
Exodus 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.”
“Mine armies … my people”: The first term in this double-barreled designation of Israel occurred originally (in 6:26). The nation was seen as organized like an army with its different divisions (its tribes), and also as God’s military instrument upon the Canaanites. The second term with its possessive pronoun revealed the incongruity of Pharaoh’s acting as though these people belonged to him.
You see, this could not be done quietly and unnoticed. This was to be done in judgment and by force to discredit the worldly ways of the Egyptians. This force of God was to show not only Egypt, but all of the surrounding countries, the power of Almighty God (JEHOVAH). Pharaoh was allowed to set his will against God, to show the overwhelming power of God.
Exodus 7:5 “And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”
“Know that I am the Lord”: This purpose of the Exodus finds repeated mention in God’s messages to Pharaoh and in God’s descriptions of what He was doing (7:16; 8:10, 22; 9:14, 16, 29; 14:4, 18). Some of the Egyptians did come to understand the meaning of the name Yahweh, for they responded appropriately to the warning of the seventh plague (9:20), and others accompanied Israel into the wilderness (12:38). In the final analysis, Egypt would not be able to deny the direct involvement of the God of Israel in their rescue from bondage and the destruction of Egypt’s army.
Here again, this was a show of power so great that it discredited all the false gods of Egypt, and all the false gods forever. The Lord is a translation here of JEHOVAH. This is JEHOVAH the Lord. He proclaimed by this, that He is the only God who truly exists.
Exodus 7:6 “And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them, so did they.”
The reluctance and resistance of Moses from this time ceased. He subdued his own will to God’s, and gained the praise of being “faithful as a servant in all his house” (Hebrews 3:5). Aaron’s obedience continued until Sinai was reached, but there failed before the frenzy of the people (Exodus 32:1-6).
Here, we see that there was no more doubt, or regret, on Moses’ and Aaron’s part. From this moment on, they never wavered. The power of God had come and done away with all their fears.
Exodus 7:7 “And Moses [was] fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh.”
Joseph, who was to be only a servant to Pharaoh, was preferred at thirty years old; but Moses, who was to be a god to Pharaoh, was not so dignified till he was eighty years old. It was fit he should long wait for such an honor, and be long in preparing for such a service.
Here we see two brothers, 80 and 83 years old, who had been called into service of the Lord. You ministers take note. You are never too old to carry the truth to a dying world.
Exodus 7:8 “And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,”
This is the first time we read of the Lord speaking to both brothers. When the Lord defied the gods of Egypt and the power of Pharaoh, it was a message to Egypt’s ruler and to the Hebrew people that the Egyptian gods were incomparable to Him.
Exodus 7:9 “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.”
“Shew a miracle”: Pharaoh’s desire for accreditation would not go unanswered. That which God had done for Moses with the staff (4:2-9), and Moses had copied for Israel (4:30-31), also became the sign of authority before pharaoh (7:10).
God had paved the way for this interview with Pharaoh. When Moses and Aaron said that they were from the only true God, it would be necessary to prove it. Pharaoh was used to magicians who had power from Satan doing miracles and wonders; so it was not unlikely that Pharaoh would check out Moses and Aaron by the miracles they performed. Miracles many times, speak much louder than words for a man of God. Jesus Himself said (in John 14).
John 14:11 “Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”
You see, most people believed Jesus because of the miracles He did. It must be correct to believe miracles or else Jesus would not tell them to believe for that reason. The disciples performed miracles in Jesus’ name. Men and women of God, who God has endowed with Power, even now can pray in Jesus’ name and have a miracle. So miracles are, many times, signs from God that He is with the person the miracle comes through. God had already demonstrated the miracle of the rod turning to a serpent in the wilderness. Moses knew this miracle would work, so God told them to use this miracle first.
Exodus 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.”
This was proper, not only to affect Pharaoh with wonder, but to strike a terror upon him. This first miracle, though it was not a plague, yet amounted to the threatening of a plague; if it made not Pharaoh feel, it made him fear; and this is God’s method of dealing with sinners; he comes upon them gradually.
Moses and Aaron did no miracle the first time they saw Pharaoh, because he didn’t ask for one; but this time he would ask. God was good for His word. When Aaron cast the rod down, it truly became a serpent. Now we will see the power of evil against good.
Exodus 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.”
“Magicians”: Magic and sorcery played a major role in the pantheistic religion of Egypt. Its ancient documents recorded the activities of the magicians, one of the most prominent being the charming of serpents. These men were also styled “wise men” and “sorcerers,” i.e., the learned men of the day and the religious as well (the word for sorcery being derived from a word meaning “to offer prayers”). Two of these men were name Jannes and Jambres (2 Tim. 3:8). Any supernatural power came from Satan (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
“Enchantments”: By means of their “witchcraft,” the wise men, sorcerers, and magicians demonstrated their abilities to perform a similar feat. Whether by optical illusion, sleight of hand, or learned physical manipulation of a snake, all sufficiently skillful enough to totally fool Pharaoh and his servants, or by evil supernaturalism, the evaluation given in the inspired record is simply “they also … did the same”. However, the turning of rods into snakes, and later turning water into blood (7:22), and calling forth frogs (8:7), were not the same as trying to create gnats from inanimate dust (8:18-19). At that point, the magicians had no option but to confess their failure.
We see here, that Pharaoh had called in the representatives of their false gods. Satan himself, furnishes the power for these false gods. No one denies that Satan has power, as we see here, when the magicians throw their rods down. Note these wise men above, are not wise in the ways of God, but were worldly wise. There are many sorcerers and magicians in our world today and they still have power, but their power is from Satan.
Exodus 7:12 “For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.”
“Aaron’s rod”: The loss of the magicians’ staffs in this fashion gave evidence of the superiority of God’s power when Aaron’s staff gulped down theirs.
You see here that these false gods truly did have power, but notice also that their power was no match for God. There was more than one of these serpents from Satan, but it just took the one serpent from God to swallow up all these other serpents.
There is one thing that Christians must always remember, in fact, two things. Satan has worldly power, but the most important thing to remember is that God has much more power than Satan, as we read (in 1 John).
1 John 4:4-6 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”
You see in all of this, that truly Satan has power in this world but God’s power is greater in this world than Satan’s; and God’s power is not limited to this earth, but is the greatest power in the universe. One other thing that we need to see in this, God defeats the enemy at the enemy’s level. Pharaoh trapped himself in all of this when he asked Moses for a miracle. Here was the first battle between Pharaoh’s false gods and the one true God, and God won.
Exodus Chapter 7 Questions
1. What had God made Moses to Pharaoh in verse 1?
2. Aaron shall be thy ________.
3. What was God trying to do in telling Moses this?
4. When Moses did these fantastic miracles in front of Pharaoh, what will Pharaoh finally do?
5. Why was Moses a little bit in awe of Pharaoh?
6. In verse 2 when God speaks to Moses, who speaks to Pharaoh?
7. Why would the miracles be done?
8. Who hardens Pharaoh’s heart in verse 3?
9. What was the purpose of this, and the miracles, and wonders God would do through Moses and Aaron?
10. How many plagues would there be?
11. Why that number?
12. How would God bring them out?
13. Why was this to be done openly and by force?
14. Pharaoh was allowed to set his will against God for what purpose?
15. In verse 5, the word translated “Lord” is what?
16. In this name, God was proclaiming what?
17. When did Moses decide to do just as God has commanded, and not fear anymore?
18. How old was Moses, when he spoke to Pharaoh?
19. How old was Aaron?
20. What would be the signal from Pharaoh to Moses that it was time to turn the rod into a serpent?
21. Where was Aaron to cast the rod?
22. Where did Pharaoh’s magicians receive their power from?
23. What speaks louder than words, sometimes?
24. In John 14:11, Jesus said believe Him for what?
25. Miracles are, many times, ________ from God that He is with a person.
26. When was the first time Moses turned the rod to a serpent?
27. Who actually cast the rod before Pharaoh?
28. What did the magicians do in response?
29. What happened to the magicians’ serpents?
30. What does this show us about God and Satan?
31. In First John chapter 4, we read “… greater is he that is in you, than He _____ ___ ___ ____ ________”.
32. In this first battle between the real God and Pharaoh’s false gods who won?