Moses and Aaron do go back to Pharaoh to repeat their request on behalf of the people. At God’s command, Aaron throws down his staff, which promptly turns into a serpent. When Pharaoh’s magicians duplicate the feat, God ups the ante by causing Aaron’s staff to swallow their staves. Pharaoh, however, remains unimpressed, and continues to refuse God’s demands.
The symbolism of the sign God tells Aaron to perform as a show of His power to Pharaoh is particularly meaningful. The Hebrew word employed by the Torah, Tanin (ta-NEEN), can also be translated as crocodile. The Egyptian god Sobek, god of the Nile, was often depicted as a crocodile or a man with a crocodile head, so by turning Aaron’s staff into a crocodile which then ate the others, God was telling Pharaoh that He was superior to any power Egypt might believe in.
Virtual Classroom Discussion
God keeps giving Pharaoh opportunity after opportunity to change his mind, yet from the outset He told Moses that Pharaoh would keep refusing until God sends His wonders upon him. Why do you think God keeps sending Moses to ask for the Israelites’ freedom?