116 Preface قالَ أَلقوا ۖ فَلَمّا أَلقَوا سَحَروا أَعيُنَ النّاسِ وَاستَرهَبوهُم وَجاءوا بِسِحرٍ عَظيمٍYusuf AliSaid Moses: “Throw ye (first).” So when they threw, they bewitched the eyes of the people, and struck terror into them: for they showed a great (feat of) magic.1Moses and his brother Aaron were pitted against the most skillful magic-men of Egypt, but they were calm and confident and let the magic-men have their innings first As is usual in this world, the magicians trickery made a great impression on the people, but when Moses threw his rod, the illusion was broken, and the falsehood was all shown up. In the Old Testament story (Exod. 7:10-12) it was Aaron that threw the rod, and he threw it before the magicians. Aaron’s rod became a serpent. Then the magicians threw their rods, and they became serpents, but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. The story given to us is more dramatic and less literal. We are told in general terms that Moses first allowed the magic-men to play their tricks. The rod of Moses was the symbol of his authority. It must have been a simple shepherd’s crook with which he used to feed his flocks. With God’s grace behind him, he was able to expose all false trickery and establish the Truth.