Signs for Moses

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen(A) to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,”(B) he replied.

The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake,(C) and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe(D) that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[a]—it had become as white as snow.(E)

“Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored,(F) like the rest of his flesh.

Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe(G) you or pay attention to the first sign,(H) they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood(I) on the ground.”

10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”(J)

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute?(K) Who gives them sight or makes them blind?(L) Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go;(M) I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”(N)

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”(O)

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned(P) against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet(Q) you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth;(R) I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth(S) and as if you were God to him.(T) 17 But take this staff(U) in your hand(V) so you can perform the signs(W) with it.”

Moses Returns to Egypt

18 Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Let me return to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.”

Jethro said, “Go, and I wish you well.”

19 Now the Lord had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill(X) you are dead.(Y) 20 So Moses took his wife and sons,(Z) put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff(AA) of God in his hand.

21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders(AB) I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart(AC) so that he will not let the people go.(AD) 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son,(AE) 23 and I told you, “Let my son go,(AF) so he may worship(AG) me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”(AH)

24 At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses[b] and was about to kill(AI) him. 25 But Zipporah(AJ) took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin(AK) and touched Moses’ feet with it.[c] “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. 26 So the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)

27 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he met Moses at the mountain(AL) of God and kissed(AM) him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and also about all the signs he had commanded him to perform.

29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders(AN) of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs(AO) before the people, 31 and they believed.(AP) And when they heard that the Lord was concerned(AQ) about them and had seen their misery,(AR) they bowed down and worshiped.(AS)

Bricks Without Straw

Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go,(AT) so that they may hold a festival(AU) to me in the wilderness.’”

Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord,(AV) that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”(AW)

Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey(AX) into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues(AY) or with the sword.”

But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor?(AZ) Get back to your work!” Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous,(BA) and you are stopping them from working.”

That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers(BB) and overseers in charge of the people: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks;(BC) let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota.(BD) They are lazy;(BE) that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’(BF) Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”

10 Then the slave drivers(BG) and the overseers went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced(BH) at all.’” 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 14 And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed,(BI) demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”

15 Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? 16 Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”

17 Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy!(BJ) That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now get to work.(BK) You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”

19 The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 21 and they said, “May the Lord look on you and judge(BL) you! You have made us obnoxious(BM) to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword(BN) in their hand to kill us.”(BO)

God Promises Deliverance

22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people?(BP) Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued(BQ) your people at all.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand(BR) he will let them go;(BS) because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”(BT)

God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord.(BU) I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty,[d](BV) but by my name(BW) the Lord[e](BX) I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established my covenant(BY) with them to give them the land(BZ) of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners.(CA) Moreover, I have heard the groaning(CB) of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.(CC)

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.(CD) I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem(CE) you with an outstretched arm(CF) and with mighty acts of judgment.(CG) I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.(CH) Then you will know(CI) that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land(CJ) I swore(CK) with uplifted hand(CL) to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.(CM) I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”(CN)

Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.(CO)

10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go, tell(CP) Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.”(CQ)

12 But Moses said to the Lord, “If the Israelites will not listen(CR) to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips[f]?”(CS)

Family Record of Moses and Aaron

13 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.(CT)

14 These were the heads of their families[g]:(CU)

The sons of Reuben(CV) the firstborn son of Israel were Hanok and Pallu, Hezron and Karmi. These were the clans of Reuben.

15 The sons of Simeon(CW) were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. These were the clans of Simeon.

16 These were the names of the sons of Levi(CX) according to their records: Gershon,(CY) Kohath and Merari.(CZ) Levi lived 137 years.

17 The sons of Gershon, by clans, were Libni and Shimei.(DA)

18 The sons of Kohath(DB) were Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.(DC) Kohath lived 133 years.

19 The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi.(DD)

These were the clans of Levi according to their records.

20 Amram(DE) married his father’s sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses.(DF) Amram lived 137 years.

21 The sons of Izhar(DG) were Korah, Nepheg and Zikri.

22 The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan(DH) and Sithri.

23 Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab(DI) and sister of Nahshon,(DJ) and she bore him Nadab and Abihu,(DK) Eleazar(DL) and Ithamar.(DM)

24 The sons of Korah(DN) were Assir, Elkanah and Abiasaph. These were the Korahite clans.

25 Eleazar son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas.(DO)

These were the heads of the Levite families, clan by clan.

26 It was this Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, “Bring the Israelites out of Egypt(DP) by their divisions.”(DQ) 27 They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh(DR) king of Egypt about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt—this same Moses and Aaron.(DS)

Aaron to Speak for Moses

28 Now when the Lord spoke to Moses in Egypt, 29 he said to him, “I am the Lord.(DT) Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you.”

30 But Moses said to the Lord, “Since I speak with faltering lips,(DU) why would Pharaoh listen to me?”


  1. Exodus 4:6 The Hebrew word for leprous was used for various diseases affecting the skin.
  2. Exodus 4:24 Hebrew him
  3. Exodus 4:25 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
  4. Exodus 6:3 Hebrew El-Shaddai
  5. Exodus 6:3 See note at 3:15.
  6. Exodus 6:12 Hebrew I am uncircumcised of lips; also in verse 30
  7. Exodus 6:14 The Hebrew for families here and in verse 25 refers to units larger than clans.

Psalm 18[a](A)

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, Lord, my strength.(B)

The Lord is my rock,(C) my fortress(D) and my deliverer;(E)
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,(F)
    my shield[b](G) and the horn[c] of my salvation,(H) my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,(I)
    and I have been saved from my enemies.(J)
The cords of death(K) entangled me;
    the torrents(L) of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death(M) confronted me.

In my distress(N) I called to the Lord;(O)
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;(P)
    my cry came(Q) before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled(R) and quaked,(S)
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;(T)
    they trembled because he was angry.(U)
Smoke rose from his nostrils;(V)
    consuming fire(W) came from his mouth,
    burning coals(X) blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;(Y)
    dark clouds(Z) were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim(AA) and flew;
    he soared(AB) on the wings of the wind.(AC)
11 He made darkness his covering,(AD) his canopy(AE) around him—
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence(AF) clouds advanced,
    with hailstones(AG) and bolts of lightning.(AH)
13 The Lord thundered(AI) from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]
14 He shot his arrows(AJ) and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning(AK) he routed them.(AL)
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations(AM) of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke,(AN) Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.(AO)

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.(AP)
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,(AQ)
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.(AR)
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,(AS)
    but the Lord was my support.(AT)
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;(AU)
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.(AV)

20 The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;(AW)
    according to the cleanness of my hands(AX) he has rewarded me.(AY)
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;(AZ)
    I am not guilty of turning(BA) from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;(BB)
    I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless(BC) before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,(BD)
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 To the faithful(BE) you show yourself faithful,(BF)
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure(BG) you show yourself pure,
    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.(BH)
27 You save the humble(BI)
    but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.(BJ)
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp(BK) burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.(BL)
29 With your help(BM) I can advance against a troop[e];
    with my God I can scale a wall.

30 As for God, his way is perfect:(BN)
    The Lord’s word is flawless;(BO)
    he shields(BP) all who take refuge(BQ) in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?(BR)
    And who is the Rock(BS) except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength(BT)
    and keeps my way secure.(BU)
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;(BV)
    he causes me to stand on the heights.(BW)
34 He trains my hands for battle;(BX)
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains(BY) me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path(BZ) for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.(CA)

37 I pursued my enemies(CB) and overtook them;
    I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them(CC) so that they could not rise;(CD)
    they fell beneath my feet.(CE)
39 You armed me with strength(CF) for battle;
    you humbled my adversaries(CG) before me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs(CH) in flight,
    and I destroyed(CI) my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them(CJ)
    to the Lord, but he did not answer.(CK)
42 I beat them as fine as windblown dust;(CL)
    I trampled them[f] like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
    you have made me the head of nations.(CM)
People I did not know(CN) now serve me,
44     foreigners(CO) cower before me;
    as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
45 They all lose heart;(CP)
    they come trembling(CQ) from their strongholds.(CR)

46 The Lord lives!(CS) Praise be to my Rock!(CT)
    Exalted be God(CU) my Savior!(CV)
47 He is the God who avenges(CW) me,
    who subdues nations(CX) under me,
48     who saves(CY) me from my enemies.(CZ)
You exalted me above my foes;
    from a violent man(DA) you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;(DB)
    I will sing(DC) the praises of your name.(DD)

50 He gives his king great victories;
    he shows unfailing love to his anointed,(DE)
    to David(DF) and to his descendants forever.(DG)


  1. Psalm 18:1 In Hebrew texts 18:1-50 is numbered 18:2-51.
  2. Psalm 18:2 Or sovereign
  3. Psalm 18:2 Horn here symbolizes strength.
  4. Psalm 18:13 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint (see also 2 Samuel 22:14); most Hebrew manuscripts resounded, / amid hailstones and bolts of lightning
  5. Psalm 18:29 Or can run through a barricade
  6. Psalm 18:42 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac and Targum (see also 2 Samuel 22:43); Masoretic Text I poured them out

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