Aaron’s Staff Becomes A Snake!


In Exodus 7-12, Moses through the power of God releases 10 plagues of different sorts on the land of Egypt which included, turning all the water to blood, plagues of insects, boils, and hail. Finally, the death of every first-born son included the death of Pharaoh’s eldest who would someday inherit the kingdom of Egypt.

We see that they were delivered not just to let Pharaoh know who God was but also to let the Israelites know who God was. Because they have been enslaved for 430 years, they didn’t know God, they have become used to being enslaved and used to being around the idol gods of Egypt.

And so not only did God have to convince Pharaoh who He was, but He also had to convince the Israelites who He was.

From the beginning of Exodus 7 onwards, we read that Moses, who is now eighty years old, and Aaron, who is eighty-three years old, Deuteronomy 31:2 / Deuteronomy 34:7 / Acts 7:23 / Acts 7:30, working together as a team.

God tells Moses that he will be like God to Pharaoh, this is because Pharaoh saw himself as a god and would think Moses was a god too, because of the miraculous power he would unleash on Egypt.

Aaron will be Moses’ prophet, that is Moses’ spokesman as other prophets were spokesmen of God. By the end of the confrontation between God and Pharaoh, both the Egyptian people and Pharaoh would understand that there is only one God.

God says, He will harden Pharaoh’s heart, which we already dealt with back in Exodus 4. This doesn’t mean that God worked directly on Pharaoh’s heart to such an extent that He have him choose. Pharaoh’s heart was full of pride and arrogance and was already hard, Romans 9:14-24.

God knows Pharaoh will not let His people go, despite Him asking on several occasions, Exodus 3:12 / Exodus 4:23 / Exodus 7:16 / Exodus 8:1 / Exodus 8:20 / Exodus 9:1 / Exodus 9:13 / Exodus 10:7, but by the time He’s finished unleashing all the plagues, the Egyptians will know that He is the Lord.

Aaron’s Staff Becomes A Snake!

‘The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said.’ Exodus 7:8-13

Notice that God knows exactly what Pharaoh was going to say. In the mind of Pharaoh, he thinks he will see and witness a ‘miracle’ like his magicians regularly did in front of him.

We read that Aaron’s rod turned into a snake and Pharaoh’s magicians did the same thing, but Aaron’s snake swallowed up the magician’s snakes.

We can be misled by the word ‘snake’ because the Hebrew word used is ‘tanniyn’ which suggests some kind of marine or land monster. This is a different word which was used when Moses’ staff was turned into a snake, it is the Hebrew word, ‘nachash’ which means a snake, a serpent, Exodus 4:3.

A few commentators believe it actually became a ‘crocodile’, which would be in keeping with the plagues which are about to come. The crocodile god was known as ‘Sobek’ and it was the ancient god of crocodiles. To his worshipers, he was a god who created the Nile, a god of fertility and rebirth, and the symbolic strength of the ruler of Egypt.

The Old Testament doesn’t tell us the names of these magicians, but we know that two of them were named, Jannes and Jambres, 2 Timothy 3:8.

The Bible doesn’t tell us how the magicians performed this trick, but it does say they used their ‘secret arts’, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10. Remember they are magicians and magic was their art. They were secret because these magicians, like some today, don’t reveal how they do it.

The important thing in all of this is not how the Egyptians’ rods were changed into serpents but what happened to them. Aaron’s rod swallowed all of theirs which demonstrated that God is greater than their god. But Pharaoh wasn’t convinced by this miracle and so refused to listen to Moses and Aaron.

The purpose of this miracle and all the miracles to come was to prove that Moses and Aaron were messengers from God. If the magicians really did perform miracles, then there would be no proof in the confirming miracles that Moses and Aaron were God’s true messengers.