Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh... Aaron cast his staff before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Pharaoh too summoned the wise men and the magicians, and the necromancers of Egypt also did likewise with their magic. Each one of them cast down his staff, and they became serpents; but Aaron's staff swallowed their staffs... (Exodus 7:10-12)

The L‑rd said to Moses, "Say to Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch forth your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their canals, over their ponds, and over all their bodies of water, and they will become blood, and there will be blood throughout the entire land of Egypt...’” (Exodus 7:19)

The metaphor of staffs and snakes appears twice in this week's Torah portion and in the corresponding painting. In the background are mysterious figures suggesting Moses and Aaron conversing with Pharaoh and his magicians. Their staff transform into large snakes, painted with broad streaks of color applied by hand. They seem to be slinking on the ground. In the sky the snake/staff of Aaron rises up ready to swallow the evil snakes of Egypt.

In their encounter at the Nile, Aaron's staff stretches over the river bringing on the first of the 10 plagues. The limited palette of black, white and red suggests that the darkness of Egypt is being transformed by the light of redemption as the waters of Egypt are turned to blood.