7:8 The Lord said 1 to Moses and Aaron, 2 7:9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Do 3 a miracle,’ and you say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down 4 before Pharaoh,’ it will become 5 a snake.” 7:10 When 6 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, they did so, just as the Lord had commanded them – Aaron threw 7 down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants and it became a snake. 8 7:11 Then Pharaoh also summoned wise men and sorcerers, 9 and the magicians 10 of Egypt by their secret arts 11 did the same thing. 7:12 Each man 12 threw down his staff, and the staffs became snakes. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 7:13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard, 13 and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.
1 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”
2 tn Heb “said to Moses and Aaron, saying.”
3 tn The verb is תְּנוּ (tÿnu), literally “give.” The imperative is followed by an ethical dative that strengthens the subject of the imperative: “you give a miracle.”
4 tn Heb “and throw it.” The direct object, “it,” is implied.
5 tn The form is the jussive יְהִי ( yÿhi). Gesenius notes that frequently in a conditional clause, a sentence with a protasis and apodosis, the jussive will be used. Here it is in the apodosis (GKC 323 §109.h).
6 tn The clause begins with the preterite and the vav (ו) consecutive; it is here subordinated to the next clause as a temporal clause.
7 tn Heb “and Aaron threw.”
8 tn The noun used here is תַּנִּין (tannin), and not the word for “serpent” or “snake” used in chap. 4. This noun refers to a large reptile, in some texts large river or sea creatures (Gen 1:21; Ps 74:13) or land creatures (Deut 32:33). This wonder paralleled Moses’ miracle in 4:3 when he cast his staff down. But this is Aaron’s staff, and a different miracle. The noun could still be rendered “snake” here since the term could be broad enough to include it.
9 sn For information on this Egyptian material, see D. B. Redford, A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph (VTSup), 203-4.
10 tn The חַרְטֻּמִּים (kharttummim) seem to have been the keepers of Egypt’s religious and magical texts, the sacred scribes.
11 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.
12 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.”
13 tn This phrase translates the Hebrew word חָזַק (khazaq); see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 53.
sn For more on this subject, see B. Jacob, Exodus, 241-49. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 53) notes that when this word (חָזַק) is used it indicates a will or attitude that is unyielding and firm, but when כָּבֵד (kaved) is used, it stresses the will as being slow to move, unimpressionable, slow to be affected.