Exodus 4

God shows Moses some strange things

1 Then Moses answered: ‘But perhaps the leaders of Israel will not believe me. Perhaps they will not listen to my voice. Perhaps they will say: “The LORD did not show himself to you.” ’

2 Then the LORD said to Moses: ‘What is that thing in your hand?’ Moses answered: ‘It is a stick.’

3 The LORD said: ‘Throw it on the ground.’ So Moses threw it on the ground. Then the stick became a snake and Moses ran from the snake! 4 But the LORD said to Moses: ‘Put out your hand and catch the snake by the tail.’ So Moses put out his hand and he caught the snake. Then it became a stick in his hand again. 5 God said, ‘Do this, and they will believe you. They will believe that the LORD has shown himself to you. It is the LORD, who is the God of their fathers. He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’

6 Then the LORD said to Moses: ‘Put your hand inside your clothes, near to your heart.’ So Moses did this. When he took his hand out again, it had become as white as snow. It was like the hand of a man who had the illness called leprosy.

7 Then God said: ‘Put your hand back inside your clothes, near to your heart.’ So Moses did that. And when he took his hand out, it was well again. It was the same as the other parts of his body.

8 God said, ‘They may not believe you. They may not think that the first sign is important. But they may still believe the second sign. 9 But if they will not believe the two signs, you can do something else. If they do not listen to you, then take some water from the River Nile. Pour it on the dry ground. The water that you take from the river will become blood on the ground.’

4:9These signs would show the Israelites that Moses has the power of God.

10 But Moses said to the LORD: ‘Oh Master, I cannot speak well. I could not speak well before. And I cannot speak well now, since you have spoken to me. I speak slowly and I speak with difficulty.’

11 Then the LORD said to Moses: ‘Who has made human mouths? Who makes a person that cannot speak? Who makes a person that cannot hear? Who makes a person that cannot see? Who makes a person that can see? It is I, the LORD, who does all these things. 12 Now go! I will help you to speak. I will teach you what to say.’

13 But Moses said, ‘Oh Master, please send some other person.’

14 Then the LORD became angry with Moses. He said: ‘Aaron, the Levite, is your brother. I know that he can speak well. And he is coming to meet you. When Aaron sees you he will be very happy. 15 Then you must speak to him. You must tell him what to say. I will help both of you to speak. And I will teach you what you must do. 16 Aaron will speak to the people for you. You will be like God to him. You will tell Aaron what to say. 17 Take this stick with you. You will use this stick to do the signs.’

4:17God gave Aaron to Moses, to give help to him.

Moses returns to Egypt

18 Then Moses went back to Jethro, his wife's father. Moses said to Jethro: ‘Please let me return to my family in Egypt. I must see if they are still alive.’ So Jethro said to Moses: ‘Go in peace.’

4:18‘Go in peace’ means that Jethro agreed with Moses. He thought that it was a good thing for Moses to see his family in Egypt.

19 The LORD had said to Moses while he was still in Midian: ‘Go back to Egypt. All the men who tried to kill you are now dead.’ 20 So Moses put his wife and his sons on a donkey and they started on the journey back to Egypt. And Moses carried the stick of God in his hand.

21 Then the LORD said to Moses: ‘When you return to Egypt you must do the signs. Do all the signs that I gave you the power to do. Do them in front of Pharaoh. But I will make Pharaoh angry and cruel. Because of this, he will not let the people go.

22 Then you must speak to Pharaoh. You must say: “The LORD says: Israel is my first son. 23 I have already said to you: Let my son go so that he can worship me. But if you refuse to let him go, I will kill your first son.”’

24 On the way to Egypt, there was a house where people can rest on their journey. The LORD met Moses there and he was going to kill Moses. 25 But Zipporah took a sharp stone and she cut off her son's foreskin with the stone. Then Zipporah threw the foreskin at Moses' feet. She said: ‘You are a husband of blood to me.’ 26 So God did not do anything bad to Moses. Then Zipporah said to Moses: ‘You are a husband of blood, because of this circumcision.’

4:26A long time before this, God had told Abraham that he must circumcise himself and every male person in his house. All the men that would be born into that family must obey this command. This was the sign of God's promise to Abraham and his family. Because Moses had not circumcised his son, he had not obeyed God's command. Zipporah circumcised their son because God would have killed Moses. Because she obeyed God, Moses did not die. It is very important to obey God.

27 The LORD said to Aaron: ‘Go into the desert to meet Moses.’ So Aaron went. He met Moses at the mountain of God and he kissed him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron all that the LORD had told him to say. He also told Aaron about all the special signs. God had commanded Moses to show these signs to the Israelites and to Pharaoh.

29 Then Moses and Aaron went to Egypt. They brought together all the leaders of the Israelites. 30 Aaron told them all the things that the LORD had said to Moses. Then Moses did the signs in front of the people. 31 And the people believed Aaron and Moses. They had heard that the LORD had come to his people. God had seen their hard life and he was sorry for them. They put their heads down and they worshipped God.