First Plague of Ten & Who Was Aaron

So Moses didn’t have much faith in himself, but he did in You.  I think most people today are just the opposite.  What happened in Egypt with Pharaoh?

Moses and Aaron told Pharaoh the good news.

“And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?  I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go” (Ex 5:2). 

Pharaoh was not happy about Moses and Aaron, telling him what to do, so he made things more difficult for the Israelites.

“And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying,

Lector-priest with kilt and sash performing the Opening of the Mouth ceremony on the deceased. Tomb of Menna at Thebes (ca. 14th c. BCE). © Ted Grudowski.

Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. 

And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore, they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God” (Ex 5:6-7).

“And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people?  Why is it that thou hast sent me? 

For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all” (Ex 5:22-23).

“Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land” (Ex 6:1).

“Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:

The god Ḥeka. Temple of Horus at Edfu (ca. 237-57 BCE). © Scott Noegel.

And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 

And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD” (Ex 6:6-8).

Moses did what God told him to do, but the people blew him off, just like Pharaoh did.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying,

Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. 

And 1 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. 

Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the 2 magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 

For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods” (Ex 7:8-12).

Chief lector-priest in tomb of Rekhmire (ca. 1400 BCE). © Ted Grudowski.

“And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. 

Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goeth out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river’s brink against he come; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thine hand. 

And thou shalt say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness: and, behold, hitherto thou wouldest not hear. 

Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters, which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. 

And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink of the water of the river” (Ex 7:13 & 15-18).

“And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said” (Ex 7:22).

1 When they went to Pharaoh Moses was 80 years old and Aaron was 83.

The leaders of the magicians were Jannes and Jambres, as named by the apostle Paul in the New Testament.  See Magicians and Plagues.

Who Was Aaron?

Aaron the Levite, Hebrew Priest & Brother of Moses, Monument Joseph Sec (c18th), Aix-en-Provence or Aix en Provence, France

Aaron was the son of Jochebed and Amram of the tribe of Levi, brother of Moses and Miriam, forebear and founder of the Israelite priesthood.  Because Moses didn’t speak well, possibly even stuttered, Aaron served as a spokesman before both the Pharaoh and the Israelites.  Aaron was empowered by God to cast his staff to the ground where it turned into a serpent before Pharaoh’s eyes.

Several of the ten plagues were instigated by Aaron wielding the staff.  Aaron’s position was officially established when God ordered Moses to consecrate him and his sons as priests.  Aaron and his sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, officiated at Moses’ side.

Mount Hor

Like Moses, Aaron was not allowed to enter the promised land.  Aaron died on Mount Hor, at age 123, near the Edom border, and his son, Eleazar, became the priest.  In the New Testament, Aaron is seen as the imperfect priest when contrasted with the perfect priesthood of Jesus (Hebrews 5:7,11).