Exodus 7:11 ESV

Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts.

Exodus 7:11 Hebrew Study Bible (Apostolic / Interlinear)

וַיִּקְרָא֙ גַּם־ פַּרְעֹ֔ה לַֽחֲכָמִ֖ים וְלַֽמְכַשְּׁפִ֑ים וַיַּֽעֲשׂ֨וּ גַם־ הֵ֜ם חַרְטֻמֵּ֥י מִצְרַ֛יִם בְּלַהֲטֵיהֶ֖ם כֵּֽן

Is there any text which refers to the magicians in Egypt by name?

The only link that I can find is from the Damascus Document which I was led to from reading Moses in Biblical and Extra-Biblical Traditions by Axel Graupner, Michael Wolter.

  • Dan, on further thought, many of our traditions are transmitted orally. The fact that virtually of all of our oral traditions have been written at some point in history does not take away from the fact that we still call it the "Oral Tradition" or even the "Oral Torah". Unless one rejects the authenticity T"Y, as many have to one degree or another, and assumes it was written in the 12th century or so, it might be the primary written source of this tradition. cont...
    – Seth J
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:14
  • ... Otherwise, if it did indeed originate in the 12th century, it might be that it found its way into later Jewish tradition via Christian tradition. Which would also make this the primary "Jewish" written source for these names.
    – Seth J
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:15
  • @Sethj are you saying that Judaism realizes that the Torah may have different versions which the stories (while basically the same) may be different depending on when they were written down? And that there isn't one copy that is the "base" copy? For example, the books in the Ark of the Covenant would be the "base" copy of the book of the law. However the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan is the agreed upon standard to use.
    – user1550
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:28
  • 1
    @DanAndrews, nonono. You misunderstand me. The oral tradition is what fills in the blanks left out of the written Torah. (Eg., what were the names of "X" people mentioned in the Torah?) In many cases it's easy to explain how we have the tradition - not that G-d told Moses the detail, but that the detail was known and told as "folk" tradition (not in the mythological sense; in the family-history sense) among our ancestors. Sometimes, though, it's much harder to determine. If it first appears in print in the 12th century, even we raise our eyebrows and say, "now, wait a minute here."
    – Seth J
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:44
  • 1
    @SethJ But see this article by Rabbi Mordechai Breuer in HaMa'ayan Nisan 5738
    – b a
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 1:15

2 Answers 2


As mentioned in your link, Targum pseudo-Jonathan identifies them in that verse saying:

וקרא לחוד פרעה לחכימיא ולחרשיא ועבדו לחוד הינון יניס וימבריס חרשין דבמצרים בלחשי קוסמיהון היכדין:‏
And Pharoh called to the wise-men and the magicians, and they -- Yannis and Yambris, the magicians of Egypt -- did with their magic thus.

  • The other places your link cites (re their association with Balaam) exist as well if you want me to quote you the text.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 15:46
  • @DanAndrews, why?
    – Seth J
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:08
  • @SethJ research. Nothing specific, just trying to understand the whole story. Since these two people were apparently important, there must be more to the story.
    – user1550
    Commented Dec 31, 2012 at 16:10

Aside from DoubleAA's answer in which he quotes Targum Yonasan, the gemara (Menachos 85a) refers to them as Yochana and Mamrei.


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