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Exodus 7:8-13

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Seven books earlier...

8 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

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

10 And Moses and Aaron and all their people went in unto Pharaoh, and when he spake unto them, saying, Show a miracle for you, they did so as the LORD had commanded: so it happened that one of the children of Israel stood discreetly in the corner of the room, and tried to look inconspicuous, despite being oddly not tanned for a slave. Whereupon when Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, the man coughed politely into his hand and lo, the rod became a serpent.

And great was the wonder of the children of Israel, and even greater the wonder of Pharaoh, and of his servants as well, and the man shuffled about and tried not to preen, though he looked rather pleased with himself anyhow.

11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. And among the magicians was the man most favoured by Pharaoh, he was well versed in all matters of the occult, and bore a rod that was like unto a sword wreathed in flame, so powerful was it. And the man stepped forth and spake unto the children of Israel, saying, What is this miracle that you have shown for us, O children of Israel; get thee away, for thy miracles are as feeble as thy gods. Thy practices are just bad hedge-magic, yea.

12 For all the wise men and sorcerers cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: and the wonder of the children of Israel was twofold that which it was before. But the man of Israel coughed again, politely, and lo, Aaron’s rod swallowed up all the rods of the Egyptians.

Whereupon great was the wrath of Pharaoh’s magician, and he looked upon the man of Israel with a wicked yellow eye, and spake harshly unto him, saying, What art thou doing in this place? Verily, I thought we had agreed this was my turf.

And the man of Israel did shrug, and looked dismissive and likewise apologetic, and he answered Pharaoh’s magician, saying unto him, New orders from on high, you know how it is.

And Pharaoh’s magician crossed his arms, and looked greatly put-upon.

And lo, Moses spake unto Pharaoh, and addressed him saying, Let my people go, in the name of the LORD and all His armies, that they will depart from Egypt and serve Him in the wilderness.

And Pharaoh’s magician looked upon the man of Israel and spake unto him, saying, I will not take this lying down, you know.

And the man of Israel answered, saying, I think that is rather the point, yea: ineffability and all that. At which Pharaoh’s magician did scowl.

13 And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. Thus Pharaoh did not release the children of Israel, and the man of Israel verily did sigh, and privately call Pharaoh’s magician a stubborn git.