One of the ten plagues that Moses unleashes on Egypt in the Book of Exodus is to make the Nile river run red with blood (Exodus 7:20). My question is, is there any information, either in the Torah itself or in other Jewish scriptures or works, about the nature of this blood?

Was it human blood, or animal blood, or divine blood that bore no relation to earthly blood, or what? Now I'm aware that some people believe that this was a purely natural phenomenon, caused by phytoplankton or minerals or something else, but I want to know how the believers (that this was a supernatural event) view this?

1 Answer 1


The Daat zekeinim and Riva (Shmos 7:18) are of the opinion that it just looked like blood, but it tasted like regular water (still the Egyptians didn't drink from it because it stunk from the dead fish).

However the R Bachye (verse 17) understands that it looked, tasted and smelled like earthly blood. The Sforno (verse 18) also seems to agree with R Bachye that the properties of the water changed and became real blood.

  • When you say earthly/real blood, do you mean human blood or animal blood? Or is that not specified? Jun 13, 2017 at 0:52
  • that is not specified. Anyways, do you know if there is any difference (in the chemical makeup) at all between animal and human blood?
    – Bach
    Jun 13, 2017 at 1:03
  • 4
    Consider adding links.
    – mevaqesh
    Jun 13, 2017 at 4:28

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