For they cast down every man his rod, and they became
That is, they seemed to be so, as Josephus F26 expresses it, but not really, in which he is followed by many; though some think that the devil assisted in this affair, and in an instant, as soon as the rods were cast down, removed them and put real serpents in their room:
but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods;
that is, the serpent that Aaron's rod was turned into, swallowed up the rods of the magicians, which never were otherwise than rods only in appearance; or if real serpents were put in the room of them, these were devoured by his serpent called his rod, because it was before turned into a serpent, as Aben Ezra observes; though the Targums of Jonathan, Jarchi, and R. Jeshua, suppose this was done after the serpent became a rod again; which makes the miracle the greater and more wonderful, that a rod should devour other rods; and supposing them real serpents, this was what the magicians could not make their rods do, and in which they were outdone by Aaron.
F26 Antiqu. ut supra. (l. 2. c. 13 sect. 3.)