Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, this is the finger of
This is to be ascribed to a power superior to human, to a divine power; so long as they could do something similar, or impose upon the senses of men, and make them believe they did the like, they would not acknowledge divine omnipotence; but when they no longer could deceive the sight of Pharaoh and the Egyptian, then they own the effects of a superior power: and this they did partly to detract from the power of Moses and Aaron, because they would not have them pass for more skilful persons in the magic art than themselves; and therefore suggest, that this was done not by virtue of any human skill and art, but by the power of the Supreme Being; and partly to detract from the honour of the God of Israel; for they do not say this is the finger of Jehovah, whom they accounted, as Dr. Lightfoot F7 observes, as a petty trivial god, but this is the finger of Elohim, the Supreme Deity. It is conjectured by some F8, that in memory of this plague the Egyptian priests scrape their whole bodies, lest there should be a louse or any unclean thing on them when they worship their gods, as Herodotus F9 relates:
and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them;
either not unto the magicians owning the hand of God, and his divine power in the plague inflicted; or to Moses and Aaron demanding the dismission of the people of Israel, which latter seems to be confirmed by the usual phrase, as follows,
as the Lord had said;
see ( Exodus 7:4 ) .
F7 Ut supra. (Works, vol. 1. p. 705, 706.)
F8 Vid. Scheuchzer. Physica Sacra, vol. 1. p. 132.
F9 Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 37.