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Exodus 4 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Miraculous Signs for Moses

Then Moses answered, “What if they won’t believe me and will not obey me but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

The Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake. Moses ran from it, but the Lord told him, “Stretch out your hand and grab it by the tail.” So he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand. “This will take place,” He continued, “so they will believe that Yahweh, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

In addition the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, his hand was diseased, white as snow.[a] Then He said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” He put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out,[b] it had again become like the rest of his skin. “If they will not believe you and will not respond to the evidence of the first sign, they may believe the evidence of the second sign. And if they don’t believe even these two signs or listen to what you say, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the Nile will become blood on the ground.”

10 But Moses replied to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent—either in the past or recently or since You have been speaking to Your servant[c]—because I am slow and hesitant in speech.”[d]

11 Yahweh said to him, “Who made the human mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, Yahweh? 12 Now go! I will help[e] you speak and I will teach you what to say.”

13 Moses said, “Please, Lord, send someone else.”[f]

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses, and He said, “Isn’t Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, he is on his way now to meet you. He will rejoice when he sees you. 15 You will speak with him and tell him what to say. I will help[g] both you and him to speak and will teach you both what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you. He will be your spokesman, and you will serve as God to him. 17 And take this staff in your hand that you will perform the signs with.”

Moses’ Return to Egypt

18 Then Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt and see if they are still living.”

Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

19 Now in Midian the Lord told Moses, “Return to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took God’s staff in his hand.

21 The Lord instructed Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, make sure you do all the wonders before Pharaoh that I have put within your power. But I will harden his heart[h] so that he won’t let the people go. 22 Then you will say to Pharaoh: This is what Yahweh says: Israel is My firstborn son. 23 I told you: Let My son go so that he may worship Me, but you refused to let him go. Now I will kill your firstborn son!”

24 On the trip, at an overnight campsite, it happened that the Lord confronted him and sought to put him to death. 25 So Zipporah took a flint, cut off her son’s foreskin, and threw it at Moses’ feet.[i] Then she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So He let him alone. At that time she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood,” referring to the circumcision.[j]

Reunion of Moses and Aaron

27 Now the Lord had said to Aaron, “Go and meet Moses in the wilderness.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and about all the signs He had commanded him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites. 30 Aaron repeated everything the Lord had said to Moses and performed the signs before the people. 31 The people believed, and when they heard that the Lord had paid attention to them and that He had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 4:6 A reference to whiteness or flakiness of the skin
  2. Exodus 4:7 Lit out of his cloak
  3. Exodus 4:10 = Moses
  4. Exodus 4:10 Lit heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue
  5. Exodus 4:12 Lit will be with you
  6. Exodus 4:13 Lit send by the hand of whom You will send
  7. Exodus 4:15 Lit be with
  8. Exodus 4:21 Or will make him stubborn
  9. Exodus 4:25 Some interpret “feet” as a euphemism for genitals.
  10. Exodus 4:26 Zipporah appeased God on Moses’ behalf by circumcising Gershom.

Exodus 4 New International Version (NIV)

Signs for Moses

Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen 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,” he replied.

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

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, 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 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.

“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, like the rest of his flesh.

Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, 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 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.”

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

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

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned 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 you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; 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 and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs 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 you are dead. 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff 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 I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”

24 At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses[b] and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin 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 of God and kissed 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 of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

Footnotes:

  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.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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