Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Exodus
Book: Exodus
Chapter: 7

Moses and Aaron encouraged. (1-7) The rods turned into
serpents, Pharaoh's Heart is hardened. (8-13) The River is
turned into Blood, The distress of the Egyptians. (14-25)

1-7 God glorifies himself. He makes people know that he is
Jehovah. Israel is made to know it By the performance of his
promises to them, and the Egyptians By the pouring out of his
wrath upon them. Moses, as the Ambassador of Jehovah, speaking
in his name, laid commands upon Pharaoh, denounced threatenings
against him, and called for judgments upon him. Pharaoh, proud
and great as he was, could not resist. Moses stood not in awe of
Pharaoh, but made him tremble. This seems to be meant in the
words, Thou shalt be a God unto Pharaoh. At length Moses is
delivered from his fears. He makes No more objections, but,
being strengthened in Faith, goes about his work with courage,
and proceeds in it with perseverance.

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.

14-25 Here is the first of the ten plagues, the turning of the
water into Blood. It was a dreadful Plague. The sight of such
vast rolling streams of Blood could not but strike horror.
Nothing is more common than water: So wisely has Providence
ordered it, and So kindly, that what is So needful and
serviceable to the comfort of human Life, should be cheap and
almost every where to be had; but now the Egyptians must either
Drink Blood, or die for thirst. Egypt was a pleasant land, but
the dead Fish and Blood now rendered it very unpleasant. It was
a righteous Plague, and justly sent upon the Egyptians; for
Nile, the River of Egypt, was their Idol. That Creature which we
idolize, God justly takes from us, or makes Bitter to us. They
had stained the River with the Blood of the Hebrews' children,
and now God made that River all Blood. Never any thirsted after
Blood, but sooner or later they had enough of it. It was a
significant Plague; Egypt had great dependence upon their River,

Zec 14:18; So that in smiting the River, they were warned of
the Destruction of all the produce of their country. The Love of
Christ to his disciples changes all their common mercies into
spiritual blessings; the Anger of God towards his enemies,
renders their most valued advantages a Curse and a misery to
them. Aaron is to summon the Plague By smiting the River with
his rod. It was done in the sight of Pharaoh and his attendants,
for God's true miracles were not performed as Satan's lying
wonders; Truth seeks No corners. See the almighty power of God.
Every Creature is that to us which he makes it to be water or
Blood. See what changes we may meet with in the things of this
world; what is always vain, may soon become vexatious. See what
mischievous work Sin makes. If the things that have been our
comforts prove our crosses, we must thank ourselves. It is Sin
that turns our waters into Blood. The Plague continued Seven
days; and in all that time Pharaoh's proud Heart would not let
him desire Moses to pray for the removal of it. Thus the
hypocrites in Heart Heap up wrath. No wonder that God's Anger is
not turned away, but that his Hand is stretched out still.