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Exodus 4 Living Bible (TLB)

But Moses said, “They won’t believe me! They won’t do what I tell them to. They’ll say, ‘Jehovah never appeared to you!’”

“What do you have there in your hand?” the Lord asked him.

And he replied, “A shepherd’s rod.”

“Throw it down on the ground,” the Lord told him. So he threw it down—and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it!

Then the Lord told him, “Grab it by the tail!” He did, and it became a rod in his hand again!

“Do that and they will believe you!” the Lord told him. “Then they will realize that Jehovah, the God of their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has really appeared to you. Now reach your hand inside your robe, next to your chest.” And when he did, and took it out again, it was white with leprosy! “Now put it in again,” Jehovah said. And when he did, and took it out again, it was normal, just as before!

“If they don’t believe the first miracle, they will the second,” the Lord said, “and if they don’t accept you after these two signs, then take water from the Nile River and pour it upon the dry land, and it will turn to blood.”

10 But Moses pleaded, “O Lord, I’m just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I’m not now, even after you have spoken to me, for I have a speech impediment.”[a]

11 “Who makes mouths?” Jehovah asked him. “Isn’t it I, the Lord? Who makes a man so that he can speak or not speak, see or not see, hear or not hear? 12 Now go ahead and do as I tell you, for I will help you to speak well, and I will tell you what to say.”

13 But Moses said, “Lord, please! Send someone else.”

14 Then the Lord became angry. “All right,” he said, “your brother, Aaron,[b] is a good speaker. And he is coming here to look for you and will be very happy when he finds you. 15 So I will tell you what to tell him, and I will help both of you to speak well, and I will tell you what to do. 16 He will be your spokesman to the people. And you will be as God to him, telling him what to say. 17 And be sure to take your rod along so that you can perform the miracles I have shown you.”

18 Moses returned home and talked it over with Jethro, his father-in-law. “With your permission,” Moses said, “I will go back to Egypt and visit my relatives. I don’t even know whether they are still alive.”

“Go with my blessing,” Jethro replied.

19 Before Moses left Midian, Jehovah said to him, “Don’t be afraid to return to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead.”

20 So Moses took his wife and sons and put them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt, holding tightly to the “rod of God”!

21 Jehovah told him, “When you arrive back in Egypt you are to go to Pharaoh and do the miracles I have shown you, but I will make him stubborn so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you are to tell him, ‘Jehovah says, “Israel is my eldest son, 23 and I have commanded you to let him go away and worship me, but you have refused: and now see, I will slay your eldest son.”’”

24 As Moses and his family were traveling along and had stopped for the night, Jehovah appeared to Moses and threatened to kill him. 25-26 Then Zipporah his wife took a flint knife and cut off the foreskin of her young son’s penis, and threw it against Moses’ feet, remarking disgustedly, “What a blood-smeared husband you’ve turned out to be!”

Then God left him alone.

27 Now Jehovah said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So Aaron traveled to Mount Horeb, the mountain of God, and met Moses there, and they greeted each other warmly. 28 Moses told Aaron what God had said they must do, and what they were to say, and told him about the miracles they must do before Pharaoh.

29 So Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt and summoned the elders of the people of Israel to a council meeting. 30 Aaron told them what Jehovah had said to Moses, and Moses performed the miracles as they watched. 31 Then the elders believed that God had sent them, and when they heard that Jehovah had visited them and had seen their sorrows, and had decided to rescue them, they all rejoiced and bowed their heads and worshiped.


  1. Exodus 4:10 I have a speech impediment, literally, “my speech is slow and halting.”
  2. Exodus 4:14 your brother, Aaron, literally, “your brother the Levite.”
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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.


  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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