Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pay close attention to this. I will make you seem like God to Pharaoh. Your brother, Aaron, will be your prophet; he will speak for you.
Tell Aaron everything I say to you and have him announce it to Pharaoh. He will demand that the people of Israel be allowed to leave Egypt.
But I will cause Pharaoh to be stubborn so I can multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt.
Even then Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. So I will crush Egypt with a series of disasters, after which I will lead the forces of Israel out with great acts of judgment.
When I show the Egyptians my power and force them to let the Israelites go, they will realize that I am the LORD."
So Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded them.
Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three at the time they made their demands to Pharaoh.
Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron,
"Pharaoh will demand that you show him a miracle to prove that God has sent you. When he makes this demand, say to Aaron, 'Throw down your shepherd's staff,' and it will become a snake."
So Moses and Aaron went to see Pharaoh, and they performed the miracle just as the LORD had told them. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his court, and it became a snake.
Then Pharaoh called in his wise men and magicians, and they did the same thing with their secret arts.
Their staffs became snakes, too! But then Aaron's snake swallowed up their snakes.
Pharaoh's heart, however, remained hard and stubborn. He still refused to listen, just as the LORD had predicted.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pharaoh is very stubborn, and he continues to refuse to let the people go.
So go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes down to the river. Stand on the riverbank and meet him there. Be sure to take along the shepherd's staff that turned into a snake.
Say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say, "Let my people go, so they can worship me in the wilderness." Until now, you have refused to listen to him.
Now the LORD says, "You are going to find out that I am the LORD." Look! I will hit the water of the Nile with this staff, and the river will turn to blood.
The fish in it will die, and the river will stink. The Egyptians will not be able to drink any water from the Nile.'"
Then the LORD said to Moses: "Tell Aaron to point his staff toward the waters of Egypt -- all its rivers, canals, marshes, and reservoirs. Everywhere in Egypt the water will turn into blood, even the water stored in wooden bowls and stone pots in the people's homes."
So Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded them. As Pharaoh and all of his officials watched, Aaron raised his staff and hit the water of the Nile. Suddenly, the whole river turned to blood!
The fish in the river died, and the water became so foul that the Egyptians couldn't drink it. There was blood everywhere throughout the land of Egypt.
But again the magicians of Egypt used their secret arts, and they, too, turned water into blood. So Pharaoh's heart remained hard and stubborn. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had predicted.
Pharaoh returned to his palace and put the whole thing out of his mind.
Then the Egyptians dug wells along the riverbank to get drinking water, for they couldn't drink from the river.
An entire week passed from the time the LORD turned the water of the Nile to blood.