Exodus 7:12

Hebrew Bible

10 When Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, they did so, just as the Lord had commanded them—Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a snake. 11 Then Pharaoh also summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the magicians of Egypt by their secret arts did the same thing. 12 Each man threw down his staff, and the staffs became snakes. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard, and he did not listen to them, just as the Lord had predicted.

Jubilees 48:9


8 And the Lord did everything for Israel's sake, and according to His covenant, which he had ordained with Abraham that He would take vengeance on them as they had brought them by force into bondage. 9 And the prince Mastêmâ stood up against thee, and sought to cast thee into the hands of Pharaoh, and he helped the Egyptian sorcerers, 10 and they stood up and wrought before thee the evils indeed we permitted them to work, but the remedies we did not allow to be wrought by their hands. 11 And the Lord smote them with malignant ulcers, and they were not able to stand, for we destroyed them so that they could not perform a single sign.

 Notes and References

"... Jubilees’ author here offers further information about his own view of the world’s workings. God is supremely powerful, but the wicked angel Mastema is nonetheless allowed to some freedom to work evil in the world—unless he is specifically restrained. (He is apparently not, for all that, the origin of all bad things that happen in the world—not the full-blown Satan of later writings.) His presence is evoked here to answer a specific question that interpreters had about Pharaoh’s “wizards/magicians” and “wise men”: how was it that they seemed to have some sort of occult power, turning their staves into snakes as Moses did (Exodus 7:11-12) and apparently working other feats (Exodus 7:22; 8:3)? The answer is that the angel Mastema would help the Egyptian magicians. The angel of the presence adds that he and the other good angels permitted them to do evil things, but not to allow healings to be performed by them, that is, not to let them undo the effects of the plagues ..."

Kugel, James L. A Walk through Jubilees: Studies in the Book of Jubilees and the World of Its Creation (p. 196) Brill, 2012

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