7:11 Then Pharaoh also summoned wise men and sorcerers, 1 and the magicians 2 of Egypt by their secret arts 3 did the same thing. 7:12 Each man 4 threw down his staff, and the staffs became snakes. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.
7:22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same 5 by their secret arts, and so 6 Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, 7 and he refused to listen to Moses and Aaron 8 – just as the Lord had predicted.
1 sn For information on this Egyptian material, see D. B. Redford, A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph (VTSup), 203-4.
2 tn The חַרְטֻּמִּים (kharttummim) seem to have been the keepers of Egypt’s religious and magical texts, the sacred scribes.
3 tn The term בְּלַהֲטֵיהֶם (bÿlahatehem) means “by their secret arts”; it is from לוּט (lut, “to enwrap”). The Greek renders the word “by their magic”; Tg. Onq. uses “murmurings” and “whispers,” and other Jewish sources “dazzling display” or “demons” (see further B. Jacob, Exodus, 253-54). They may have done this by clever tricks, manipulation of the animals, or demonic power. Many have suggested that Aaron and the magicians were familiar with an old trick in which they could temporarily paralyze a serpent and then revive it. But here Aaron’s snake swallows up their snakes.
4 tn The verb is plural, but the subject is singular, “a man – his staff.” This noun can be given a distributive sense: “each man threw down his staff.”
5 tn Heb “thus, so.”
6 tn The vav consecutive on the preterite introduces the outcome or result of the matter – Pharaoh was hardened.
7 tn Heb “and the heart of Pharaoh became hard.” This phrase translates the Hebrew word חָזַק (khazaq; see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53). In context this represents the continuation of a prior condition.
8 tn Heb “to them”; the referents (Moses and Aaron) have been specified in the translation for clarity.