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BSD

In this week's Parsha - Shemot Chapter 8 (וָאֵרָא), Pharaoh stands by as Moshe and Aaron perform all of the rites and 'signs' to Pharaoh. After each miracle, the Torah speaks of how Pharaoh's magicians replicated them, at least superficially. After the first two replications, Pharaoh dismisses Moshe's and Aaron's act (the transforming staff and Nile in blood) as just magic. But then after (frogs) Pharaoh demands from Moshe to stop the plague, instead of his magicians? Why not consult the magicians first? I mean if his magicians are replicating all of these 'signs', why not ask them first? What reason was there for Pharaoh to believe that Moshe's acts were different from those of his necromancers?

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    The magicians couldn't stop it? – Scimonster Jan 14 '15 at 7:44
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    Not only could the magicians not remove the frogs but they couldn't bring lice either. However that wouldn't necessarily convince Pharaoh as it might simply mean Moses and Aaron were better magicians than the court ones. – CashCow Jan 14 '15 at 10:37
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If O.K., I shall disconnect your two questions. You have one in the title, and a separate one in the content of your question. (You may want to edit the title?)

See Rashi on Shmot 7:22 who explains that the reason Pharaoh heardened his heart during the plague of blood was because he did think that Moshe and Aharon were magicians.

Your 2nd question - See Ohr Hachaim commentary on Shmot 8:4 . Pharaoh called Moshe and Aharon only for plagues that affected him physically to the point that he thought he would die if the plague continued. With the Nile turning to blood, he was able to find water surrounding (outside the Nile) or buy water from the Israelites. The frogs were inside the person, so he thought he would eventually die if this continued. Though Ohr Hachaim doesn't explain, directly, I think we can deduce that Pharaoh's own magicians would not do something magical to cause this type of physical harm to Pharaoh. (That wouldn't be in their best interest if they wanted to remain on their job, let alone be alive if Pharaoh discovered who did this.)

View the commentary for a detailed explanation regarding which plagues Pharaoh called for Moshe, and which he didn't as well as why.

  • If the magicians could have stopped the plagues they would have. Even when they managed to duplicate the effect, they still could not stop it. As a result, Par'o already knew that he had to ask Moshe to end it. – sabbahillel Jan 14 '15 at 23:25
  • @sabbahillel - How do you know this? – DanF Jan 15 '15 at 2:46
  • Why would they not have stopped the plague if they could have? Isn't that the whole purpose of the magicians to defend the court and king of Egypt? It would be like an army whose country is attacked not throwing the invaders out but showing that they could also blow up buildings within the country. – sabbahillel Jan 15 '15 at 10:28

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