17 Thus says Hashem, “By this you shall know that I am Hashem.” See, I shall strike the water in the Nile with the rod that is in my hand, and it will be turned into blood;
KO a-MAR a-do-NAI b’-ZOT tay-DA KEE a-NEE a-do-NAI hi-NAY a-no-KHEE ma-KEH ba-ma-TEH a-sher b’-ya-DEE al ha-MA-yim a-SHER bai-OR v’-ne-hef-KHU l’-DAM
יז כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה בְּזֹאת תֵּדַע כִּי אֲנִי יְהֹוָה הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי מַכֶּה בַּמַּטֶּה אֲשֶׁר־בְּיָדִי עַל־הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר בַּיְאֹר וְנֶהֶפְכוּ לְדָם׃
7:17 The water in the Nile
The first two of the ten plagues that Hashem inflicts upon Egypt specifically affect the Nile. When describing the attack on the Nile, Yechezkel says: “Thus said Hashem: I am going to deal with you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, mighty monster, sprawling in your channels, who said, ‘My Nile is my own; I made it for myself’.” (Ezekiel 29:3). Unlike Eretz Yisrael which is dependent upon rain water, Egypt has the Nile as a reliable water source, and that is the key to its economic success. Since the Egyptians did not require rain, they saw themselves as self-sufficient and not dependent on God for their sustenance. Consequently, Hashem struck the Nile first. By contrast, the Land of Israel has no such water source, and therefore, its inhabitants are aware of their dependence on God and forge a relationship with Him through their daily prayers for rain. This spiritual relationship is built into the very geography of the Eretz Yisrael, in contrast with its neighbors.