Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
4 And Moses answered, [a]But behold, they will not believe me or listen to and obey my voice; for they will say, The Lord has not appeared to you.
2 And the Lord said to him, What is that in your hand? And he said, A rod.
3 And He said, Cast it on the ground. And he did so and it became a serpent [the symbol of royal and divine power worn on the crown of the Pharaohs]; and Moses fled from before it.
4 And the Lord said to Moses, Put forth your hand and take it by the tail. And he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand,
5 [This you shall do, said the Lord] that the elders may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has indeed appeared to you.
6 The Lord said also to him, Put your hand into your bosom. He put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as white as snow.
7 [God] said, Put your hand into your bosom again. So he put his hand back into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored as the rest of his flesh.
8 [Then God said] If they will not believe you or heed the voice or the testimony of the first sign, they may believe the voice or the witness of the second sign.
9 But if they will also not believe these two signs or heed your voice, you shall take some water of the river [Nile] and pour it upon the dry land; and the water which you take out of the river [Nile] shall become blood on the dry land.
10 And Moses said to the Lord, O Lord, I am not eloquent or a man of words, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and have a heavy and awkward tongue.
11 And the Lord said to him, Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Is it not I, the Lord?
12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what you shall say.
13 And he said, Oh, my Lord, I pray You, send by the hand of [some other] whom You will [send].
14 Then the anger of the Lord blazed against Moses; He said, Is there not Aaron your brother, the Levite? I know he can speak well. Also, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be overjoyed.
15 You must speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you what you shall do.
16 He shall speak for you to the people, acting as a mouthpiece for you, and you shall be as God to him.
17 And you shall take this rod in your hand with which you shall work the signs [that prove I sent you].
18 And Moses went away and, returning to Jethro his father-in-law, said to him, Let me go back, I pray you, to my relatives in Egypt to see whether they are still alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.
19 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, Go back to Egypt; for all the men who were seeking your life [for killing the Egyptian] are dead.(A)
20 And Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on donkeys, and he returned to the land of Egypt; and Moses took the rod of God in his hand.
21 And the Lord said to Moses, When you return into Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all those miracles and wonders which I have put in your hand; but I will make him stubborn and harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.
22 And you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says the Lord, Israel is My son, even My firstborn.
23 And I say to you, Let My son go, that he may serve Me; and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son, your firstborn.
24 Along the way at a [resting-] place, the Lord met [Moses] and sought to kill him [made him acutely and almost fatally ill].
25 [Now apparently he had [b]failed to circumcise one of his sons, his wife being opposed to it; but seeing his life in such danger] Zipporah took a flint knife and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it to touch [Moses’] feet, and said, Surely a husband of blood you are to me!
26 When He let [Moses] alone [to recover], Zipporah said, A husband of blood are you because of the circumcision.
27 The Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mountain of God [Horeb, or Sinai] and kissed him.
28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which He had sent him, and all the signs with which He had charged him.
29 Moses and Aaron went and gathered together [in Egypt] all the elders of the Israelites.
30 Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.
31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the Israelites, and that He had looked [in compassion] upon their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.
- Exodus 4:1 There need be no “buts” in our relationship to God’s will. Nothing will take the Lord by surprise. The entire field has been surveyed and the preparations are complete. When the Lord says, “I will send thee,” every provision has been made for the appointed task. “I will not fail thee.” He who gives the command will also give the equipment (John Henry Jowett, My Daily Meditation).
- Exodus 4:25 He who is on his way to liberate the people of the circumcision has in Midian even neglected to circumcise his second son Eliezer (J.P. Lange, A Commentary). It was necessary that at this stage of Moses’ experience he should learn that God is in earnest when He speaks, and will assuredly perform all that He has threatened (J.G. Murphy, A Commentary on the Book of Exodus).
New International Version
Signs for Moses
4 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen(A) to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
“A staff,”(B) he replied.
3 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. 4 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. 5 “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.”
7 “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.
8 Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe(G) you or pay attention to the first sign,(H) they may believe the second. 9 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)