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Bible: What Does Exodus 5-7 Teach Us About God, Moses, and Miracles?
Thutmose III--King of Egypt
Making Bricks Without Straw
Moses and Aaron receive a contrary opinion from Pharaoh when they announce their desire to take a three-day wilderness journey to worship Yahweh (vv. 1, 3).
Pharaoh announces his ignorance both of the LORD’s identity and of His authority over him, and arrogantly refuses to let Israel go (v. 3).
Not only does the king not release them, but he also reprimands Israel’s leaders for keeping the people from their work; consequently, he commands their taskmasters to require the Israelites to produce the same quota of bricks, yet without giving them the straw necessary to make them (vv. 4-9).
Israel’s taskmasters repeat Pharaoh’s orders to the slaves, who try to find stubble in the fields to fulfill their daily quota—a deed altogether impossible (vv. 10-13).
After two days of unmet quotas, Israel’s beaten officers (supervisors?) complain about the lack of straw; Pharaoh calls them “idle” and continues to insist that they meet his demands without this necessary commodity (vv. 14-19).
Israel’s officers now “get on Moses’ case” for making their “scent to stink before” the Egyptians (vv. 20-21).
Moses returns to the LORD, asking, in effect, “What is going on? Conditions are becoming worse, and You have not done what You promised” (vv. 22-23).
Moses' Supposed Disability
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Yahweh: "The Covenant Keeping God"
The LORD replies, in essence, “Pharaoh has done exactly what I knew he’d do; now, Moses, watch what I’ll do to him” (v. 1).
By using His Name, “LORD,” He signals an enhancement in His relationship with Israel.
Moses’ fathers “knew” Him only as El Shaddai; now Israel will “know” God experientially as the covenant-keeping Yahweh (v. 3).
As Yahweh, He has “remembered” His covenant with suffering Israel (vv. 4-5); He pledges to save His people with great power and judgments, and lead them into the land promised to the fathers (vv. 6-8).
Moses relays this message to Israel, but they are skeptical (v. 9).
Again, the LORD commands Moses to go to Pharaoh with His message, but the prophet "hems and haws," complaining about his inability to speak well (vv. 10-12).
God, therefore, sends Aaron with him (v. 13).
Before resuming his narrative in verse twenty-eight, Moses sets aside a section to record more genealogies (vv. 14-27), especially that of his own tribe.
He begins, however, with the families of Reuben and Simeon (vv. 14-15; cf. Gen. 46:9-10).
[Why does he start thus?
Why did he not begin with his own tribe, since his purpose appears to be to identify for his readers exactly who he and Aaron are (see 6:26-27)].
Moses first examines the members of the families of Gershon (v. 17), Kohath (v. 18), and Merari (v. 19), then records the details of his immediate family (v. 20) and those of his uncles (vv. 21-22).
[He includes the ages of Levi (v. 16), Kohath (v. 18), and Amram (v. 20) at their death, but not Merari or Gershon.
Amram was one of the sons of Kohath (v. 18)].
Afterwards, he pens the family of his brother Aaron and his cousin Korah (vv. 23-24), and lastly, the family of Eleazar, Aaron’s son (v. 25).
The narrative resumes with a rehashing of previous material regarding Moses’ lack of oratorical skills (vv. 28-30; cf. 6:12).
Moses, Aaron, and Pharaoh
The Rod of Moses
God makes provision for Moses’ perceived weakness, permitting Aaron to speak to Pharaoh (Thutmose III) as Moses’ prophet (vv. 1-2).
[Yet this addition does not absolve Moses of all responsibility to speak (v. 2a)].
The LORD plans to unleash judgment upon Egypt because of the king’s unbelief and hard-heartedness, and then afterwards save Israel (vv. 3-4).
These judgments and signs will convince Egypt of Yahweh’s omnipotence (v. 5; cf. Ezek. 6:10).
(Moses records that he and Aaron, obedient servants of the LORD, were not young men) [vv. 6-7]).
God directs Moses to command Aaron to cast down the rod before Pharaoh when the king asks them to show a sign of Yahweh’s authority (vv. 8-9).
When they obey the LORD, He turns the rod into a snake (v. 10).
Even though Pharaoh’s magicians duplicate this feat, Moses’ “rod” swallows their rods (vv. 11-12).
[The magicians’ rods were actually snakes whose nervous systems the men had temporarily released from paralysis].
As God had made known earlier, the king hardens his heart (v. 13).
The Bloody River Nile
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The First Plague: Water to Blood
Now the LORD begins to send plagues upon Egypt.
As Pharaoh visits the River for his daily worship of the Nile god, Moses takes his rod to the shore at Yahweh’s command (vv. 14-15).
After informing the king (through Moses) about what He intended to do because of his unbelief (vv.16-18), Yahweh tells Moses to command Aaron to stretch out his hand over the waters in order to turn them into blood (v. 19).
Not only does Aaron lift up the rod, but he also strikes the Nile in Pharaoh’s presence, and the miracle occurs (vv. 20-21).
Strangely enough, because the magicians also accomplish this feat through their secret arts, the king rejects Yahweh again (vv. 22-23).
All Egypt finds other sources of drinking water for seven days (vv. 24-25).
[What did the magicians do to duplicate the LORD’s miracle?
Perhaps they poured some dye into the water, causing the Nile to become red].
© 2013 glynch1