1The Lord answered Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother will be your prophet. 2You must say whatever I command you; then Aaron your brother must declare it to Pharaoh so that he will let the Israelites go from his land. 3But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. 4Pharaoh will not listen to you, but I will put my hand into Egypt and bring the military divisions of my people the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the Israelites from among them.”
6So Moses and Aaron did this; they did just as the Lord commanded them. 7Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
8The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9“When Pharaoh tells you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh. It will become a serpent.’” 10So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord had commanded. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent. 11But then Pharaoh called the wise men and sorcerers — the magicians of Egypt, and they also did the same thing by their occult practices. 12Each one threw down his staff, and it became a serpent. But Aaron’s staff swallowed their staffs. 13However, Pharaoh’s heart was hard, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
The First Plague: Water Turned to Blood
14Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard: He refuses to let the people go. 15Go to Pharaoh in the morning. When you see him walking out to the water, stand ready to meet him by the bank of the Nile. Take in your hand the staff that turned into a snake. 16Tell him: The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But so far you have not listened. 17This is what the Lord says: Here is how you will know that I am the Lord. Watch. I am about to strike the water in the Nile with the staff in my hand, and it will turn to blood. 18The fish in the Nile will die, the river will stink, and the Egyptians will be unable to drink water from it.”
19So the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron: Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt — over their rivers, canals, ponds, and all their water reservoirs — and they will become blood. There will be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.”
20Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded; in the sight of Pharaoh and his officials, he raised the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile was turned to blood. 21The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad the Egyptians could not drink water from it. There was blood throughout the land of Egypt.
22But the magicians of Egypt did the same thing by their occult practices. So Pharaoh’s heart was hard, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23Pharaoh turned around, went into his palace, and didn’t take even this to heart. 24All the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink because they could not drink the water from the river. 25Seven days passed after the Lord struck the Nile.