So he threw down his rod, and lo! it distinctly became a serpent.

Then drew he forth his hand, and lo! it was white24 to the beholders.

The nobles of Pharaoh’s people said, “Verily, this is an expert enchanter:

Fain would he expel you from your land: what then do ye order to be done?”

They said, “Put25 him and his brother off awhile, and send round men to your cities who shall muster

And bring to thee every skilled enchanter.”

And the enchanters came to Pharaoh. Said they, “Shall we surely be rewarded if we prevail?”

He said, “Yes; and ye certainly shall be near my person.”

They said, “O Moses! either cast thou down thy rod first, or we will cast down ours.”

He said, “Cast ye down.” And when they had cast them down they enchanted the people’s eyes, and made them afraid; for they had displayed a great enchantment.

Then spake we unto Moses, “Throw down thy rod;” and lo! it devoured their lying wonders.

So the truth was made strong, and that which they had wrought proved vain:

And they were vanquished on the spot, and drew back humiliated.

But the other enchanters prostrated themselves adoring:

Said they, “We believe on the Lord of the Worlds,

The Lord of Moses and Aaron.”

Said Pharaoh, “Have ye believed on him, ere I have given you leave? This truly is a plot which ye have plotted in this my city, in order to drive out its people. But ye shall see in the end what shall happen.

I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides; then will I have you all crucified.”

They said, “Verily, to our Lord do we return;

And thou takest vengeance on us only because we have believed on the signs of our Lord when they came to us. Lord! pour out constancy upon us, and cause us to die Muslims.”

Then said the chiefs of Pharaoh’s people—“Wilt thou let Moses and his people go to spread disorders in our land, and desert thee and thy gods?” He said, “We will cause their male children to be slain and preserve their females alive: and verily we shall be masters over them.”

Said Moses to his people, “Cry unto God for help, and bear up patiently, for the earth is God’s: to such of His servants as He pleaseth doth He give it as a heritage; and for those that fear Him is a happy issue.”

“We have been oppressed,” they said, “before thou camest to us, and since thou hast been with us:” “Perhaps,” said he, “your Lord will destroy your enemy, and will make you his successors in the land, and He will see how ye will act therein.”

Already had we chastised the people of Pharaoh with dearth and scarcity of fruits, that haply they might take warning:

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