Miraculous Signs for Pharaoh

Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’ ”

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

He said, “A rod.”

And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand), “that they may (A)believe that the (B)Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

Furthermore the Lord said to him, “Now put your hand in your bosom.” And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, (C)like snow. And He said, “Put your hand in your bosom again.” So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, (D)it was restored like his other flesh. “Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the (E)first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign. And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from [a]the river and pour it on the dry land. (F)The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.

10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but (G)I am slow of speech and [b]slow of tongue.”

11 So the Lord said to him, (H)“Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be (I)with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

13 But he said, “O my Lord, (J)please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”

14 So (K)the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses, and He said: “Is not Aaron the Levite your (L)brother? I know that he can speak well. And look, (M)he is also coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 Now (N)you shall speak to him and (O)put the words in his mouth. And I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and (P)I will teach you what you shall do. 16 So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and (Q)you shall be to him as God. 17 And you shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”

Moses Goes to Egypt

18 So Moses went and returned to (R)Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, “Please let me go and return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive.”

And Jethro said to Moses, (S)“Go in peace.”

19 Now the Lord said to Moses in (T)Midian, “Go, return to (U)Egypt; for all the men who (V)sought your life are dead.” 20 Then Moses (W)took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took (X)the rod of God in his hand.

21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those (Y)wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But (Z)I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall (AA)say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: (AB)“Israel is My son, (AC)My firstborn. 23 So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed (AD)I will kill your son, your firstborn.” ’ ”

24 And it came to pass on the way, at the (AE)encampment, that the Lord (AF)met him and sought to (AG)kill him. 25 Then (AH)Zipporah took (AI)a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and [c]cast it at [d]Moses’ feet, and said, “Surely you are a husband of blood to me!” 26 So He let him go. Then she said, “You are a [e]husband of blood!”—because of the circumcision.

27 And the Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness (AJ)to meet Moses.” So he went and met him on (AK)the mountain of God, and kissed him. 28 So Moses (AL)told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him, and all the (AM)signs which He had commanded him. 29 Then Moses and Aaron (AN)went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. 30 (AO)And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 So the people (AP)believed; and when they heard that the Lord had (AQ)visited the children of Israel and that He (AR)had looked on their affliction, then (AS)they bowed their heads and worshiped.


  1. Exodus 4:9 The Nile
  2. Exodus 4:10 heavy or dull of tongue; cannot talk very well
  3. Exodus 4:25 Lit. made it touch
  4. Exodus 4:25 Lit. his
  5. Exodus 4:26 bridegroom

Moses Argues with God

Then Moses answered, “Look, they won’t believe me and they won’t listen to me.[a] Instead, they’ll say, ‘The Lord didn’t appear to you.’”

“What’s that in your hand?” the Lord asked him.

Moses[b] answered, “A staff.”[c]

Then God[d] said, “Throw it to the ground.” He threw it to the ground and it became a snake. Moses ran away from it.

Then God told Moses, “Reach out[e] and grab its tail.” So he reached out, grabbed it, and it became a staff[f] in his hand. God said, “I’ve done this[g] so that they may believe that the Lord God of their ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

Again the Lord told him, “Put your hand into your bosom.”[h] He put his hand into his bosom and as soon as he brought it out it was leprous, like snow.[i] Then God[j] said, “Put your hand back into your bosom.” He returned it[k] to his bosom and as soon as he brought it out,[l] it was restored like the rest of[m] his skin.[n]

“Then if they don’t believe you and respond to the first sign, they may respond to the second[o] sign. But if they don’t believe even these two signs, and won’t listen to you, then take some water out of the Nile River[p] and pour it on the dry ground. The water you took from the Nile River[q] will turn into blood on the dry ground.”

10 Then Moses told the Lord, “Please, Lord, I’m not eloquent.[r] I never was in the past[s] nor am I now since you spoke to your servant. In fact, I talk too slowly[t] and I have a speech impediment.”[u]

11 Then God asked him, “Who gives a person a mouth? Who makes him unable to speak, or deaf, or able to see, or blind, or lame? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now, go! I myself will help you with your speech,[v] and I’ll teach you what you are to say.”

13 Moses said, “Please, Lord, send somebody else.”[w]

14 Then the Lord was angry with Moses and said, “There’s your brother Aaron, a descendant of Levi, isn’t there? I know that he certainly is eloquent.[x] Right now he’s coming to meet you and he will be pleased to see you. 15 You’re to speak to him and tell him what to say.[y] I’ll help both you and him with your speech,[z] and I’ll teach both of you what you are to do. 16 He is to speak to the people for you as your spokesman[aa] and you are to act in the role of[ab] God for him. 17 Now pick up that staff with your hand. You’ll use it to perform the signs.”

Moses Decides to Return to Egypt

18 Moses left and returned to his father-in-law Jethro. Moses[ac] told him, “Please let me go and return to my own people[ad] in Egypt so I can see whether they’re still alive.”

Jethro told Moses, “Go in peace.”

19 The Lord told Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, because all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on donkeys, and headed back to the land of Egypt. Moses took the staff of God in his hand.

21 Then the Lord told Moses, “When you set out to return to Egypt, keep in mind[ae] all the wonders that I’ve put in your power,[af] so that you may do them before Pharaoh. But I’ll harden his heart so that he won’t let the people go. 22 You are to say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: “Israel is my firstborn son. 23 And I say to you, ‘Let my son go so he may serve me. If you refuse to let him go, then I will kill your firstborn son.’”’”

Zipporah Circumcises Moses’ Son

24 But later on, at the lodging place along the way, the Lord met Moses[ag] and was about to kill him. 25 Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’[ah] feet with it, saying while doing so,[ai] “…because you are a bridegroom of blood to me.” 26 Then the Lord[aj] withdrew from him, and she said, “…a bridegroom of blood because of circumcision.”

Moses and Aaron Meet and Return to Egypt

27 The Lord told Aaron, “Go meet Moses in the desert.” So Aaron[ak] went, found[al] him at the mountain of God, and embraced[am] him. 28 Moses told Aaron all of the Lord’s messages that he had sent with Moses, and all of the signs that he commanded him to do.[an] 29 Later, Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of Israel. 30 Aaron spoke everything that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and Moses[ao] performed the miracles[ap] before the very eyes of the people. 31 The people believed and understood[aq] that the Lord had paid attention to the Israelis and had seen their affliction. They bowed their heads and prostrated themselves in worship.


  1. Exodus 4:1 Lit. to my voice. And so through the passage
  2. Exodus 4:2 Lit. he
  3. Exodus 4:2 Or rod
  4. Exodus 4:3 Lit. he
  5. Exodus 4:4 Lit. Stretch out your hand
  6. Exodus 4:4 Or rod
  7. Exodus 4:5 The Heb. lacks God said, “I have done this
  8. Exodus 4:6 I.e. under the folds of the garment at the chest
  9. Exodus 4:6 I.e. his hand was white
  10. Exodus 4:7 Lit. He
  11. Exodus 4:7 Lit. his hand
  12. Exodus 4:7 Lit. out from his bosom
  13. Exodus 4:7 The Heb. lacks the rest of
  14. Exodus 4:7 Lit. flesh
  15. Exodus 4:8 Lit. latter
  16. Exodus 4:9 The Heb. lacks River
  17. Exodus 4:9 The Heb. lacks River
  18. Exodus 4:10 Lit. a man of words
  19. Exodus 4:10 Lit. either yesterday or the day before
  20. Exodus 4:10 Lit. heavy of mouth
  21. Exodus 4:10 Lit. heavy
  22. Exodus 4:12 Lit. will be with your mouth
  23. Exodus 4:13 Lit. by a hand send; i.e. by someone else’s hand send
  24. Exodus 4:14 Lit. he certainly speaks
  25. Exodus 4:15 Lit. put the words in his mouth
  26. Exodus 4:15 Lit. I’ll be with your mouth and with his mouth
  27. Exodus 4:16 Lit. be your mouth
  28. Exodus 4:16 Lit. be
  29. Exodus 4:18 Lit. he
  30. Exodus 4:18 Lit. my brothers
  31. Exodus 4:21 Lit. see, watch
  32. Exodus 4:21 Lit. hand
  33. Exodus 4:24 Lit. him
  34. Exodus 4:25 Lit. his
  35. Exodus 4:25 Lit. touched to his feet
  36. Exodus 4:26 Lit. Then he
  37. Exodus 4:27 Lit. he
  38. Exodus 4:27 Lit. encountered
  39. Exodus 4:27 Lit. kissed
  40. Exodus 4:28 The Heb. lacks to do
  41. Exodus 4:30 Lit. he
  42. Exodus 4:30 Lit. signs
  43. Exodus 4:31 Or they heard