Exodus 4 New International Version (NIV)
Signs for Moses
4 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen 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,” he replied.
3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, 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 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.”
6 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.
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, like the rest of his flesh.
8 Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, 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 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.
Exodus 4 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
4 Moshe replied, “But I’m certain they won’t believe me, and they won’t listen to what I say, because they’ll say, ‘Adonai did not appear to you.’” 2 Adonai answered him, “What is that in your hand?” and he said, “A staff.” 3 He said, “Throw it on the ground!” and he threw it on the ground. It turned into a snake, and Moshe recoiled from it. 4 Then Adonai said to Moshe, “Put your hand out and take it by the tail.” He reached out with his hand and took hold of it, and it became a staff in his hand. 5 “This is so that they will believe that Adonai, the God of their fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov, has appeared to you!”
6 Furthermore Adonai said to him, “Now put your hand inside your coat.” He put his hand in his coat; and when he took it out his hand was leprous, as white as snow. 7 Then God said, “Now put your hand back in your coat.” He put his hand back in his coat; and when he took it out, it was as healthy as the rest of his body. 8 “If they won’t believe you or heed the evidence of the first sign, they will be convinced by the second. 9 But if they aren’t persuaded even by both these signs and still won’t listen to what you say, then take some water from the river, and pour it on the ground. The water you take from the river will turn into blood on the dry land.”
10 Moshe said to Adonai, “Oh, Adonai, I’m a terrible speaker. I always have been, and I’m no better now, even after you’ve spoken to your servant! My words come slowly, my tongue moves slowly.” 11 Adonai answered him, “Who gives a person a mouth? Who makes a person dumb or deaf, keen-sighted or blind? Isn’t it I, Adonai? 12 Now, therefore, go; and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what to say.”
13 But he replied, “Please, Lord, send someone else — anyone you want!” 14 At this, Adonai’s anger blazed up against Moshe; he said, “Don’t you have a brother, Aharon the Levi? I know that he’s a good speaker. In fact, here he is now, coming out to meet you; and he’ll be happy to see you. 15 You will speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and his, teaching you both what to do. 16 Thus he will be your spokesman to the people, in effect; for you, he will be a mouth; and for him, you will be like God. 17 Now take this staff in your hand, because you need it to perform the signs.”
(vi) 18 Moshe left, returned to Yitro his father-in-law and said to him, “I beg you to let me go and return to my kinsmen in Egypt, to see if they are still alive.” Yitro said to Moshe, “Go in peace.” 19 Adonai said to Moshe in Midyan, “Go on back to Egypt, because all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20 So Moshe took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and started out for Egypt. Moshe took God’s staff in his hand. 21 Adonai said to Moshe, “When you get back to Egypt, make sure that you do before Pharaoh every one of the wonders I have enabled you to do. Nevertheless, I am going to make him hardhearted, and he will refuse to let the people go. 22 Then you are to tell Pharaoh: ‘Adonai says, “Isra’el is my firstborn son. 23 I have told you to let my son go in order to worship me, but you have refused to let him go. Well, then, I will kill your firstborn son!”’”
24 At a lodging-place on the way, Adonai met Moshe and would have killed him, 25 had not Tzipporah taken a flintstone and cut off the foreskin of her son. She threw it at his feet, saying, “What a bloody bridegroom you are for me!” 26 But then, God let Moshe be. She added, “A bloody bridegroom because of the circumcision!”
27 Adonai said to Aharon, “Go into the desert to meet Moshe.” He went, met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moshe told him everything Adonai had said in sending him, including all the signs he had ordered him to perform. 29 Then Moshe and Aharon went and gathered together all the leaders of the people of Isra’el. 30 Aharon said everything Adonai had told Moshe, who then performed the signs for the people to see. 31 The people believed; when they heard that Adonai had remembered the people of Isra’el and seen how they were oppressed, they bowed their heads and worshipped.
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