I remember as a boy visiting the fishing villages near our home on the weekend. Fishermen would fish all night and the next morning return home with their catch. Fish would be sorted. The good ones would be kept for food or sold for profit. The bad ones were not returned to the sea, but tossed on the shore. The smell was horrible – and ever-present.
By turning the Nile into blood, the fish died. The water itself stank. The Nile, considered a god in Egypt, was made detestable and useless to the Egyptians.
Did the Nile really turn into literal blood?
Why would a Bible believer consider anything else?
The text says “blood,” and I am willing to accept that, but there are some difficulties. First, Exodus 7:21 says the “water” smelled so bad that people could not drink it. If it were “blood,” it wouldn’t be water, and if it were blood, no one would think of drinking it. But second, though every bit of water drawn from the Nile also turned into blood, if you dug around the Nile, the sandy soil would filter the water so that it would be usable (note that wells didn’t seem to be affected). If it were blood, no amount of filtering would make it “water.”
As far as Moses, Israel and the Egyptians were concerned, it looked like blood and smelled just as bad. No one was going to argue the point. Nor was anyone going to argue that the Lord, God of Israel had inflicted a huge blow on Egypt. But then again, such trickery was not beyond the Egyptian magicians. As we shall see, the Lord is toying with them. He has a point to make, and He will take his time doing it.
In our own lives, sometimes God afflicts us to give us time: time to think, consider, evaluate, change, submit. When trials are “dark on every hand,” it’s important to draw closer to God, not further away.