Exodus 4

God shows Moses some strange things

1 Then Moses answered God, ‘Perhaps the leaders of Israel will not believe me. Perhaps they will not listen to my message. Perhaps they will say, “The LORD did not really appear 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 down on the ground.’ So Moses threw it on the ground. Then the stick became a snake! Moses ran away from the snake. 4 Then the LORD said to Moses: ‘Take hold of the snake's tail with your hand.’ So Moses caught the snake with his hand. Then it became a stick in his hand again. 5 God said, ‘Do this in front of them. Then they will believe you. They will believe that I, the LORD God, have appeared to you. I am the God that their fathers worshipped. I am 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 shirt.’ So Moses did this. When he took his hand out again, the skin had become white, like snow. It was the bad illness called leprosy.

7 Then God said, ‘Put your hand back inside your shirt again.’ So Moses did that. And when he took his hand out, it was well again, like the rest of his skin!

8 God said, ‘The leaders may not believe you. They may not think that the miracle with the stick shows anything. But they may believe you when you do the second miracle. 9 But they may still not listen to your message. If they will not even believe those two miracles, you can do another one. Take some water from the River Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water that you take from the river will become blood on the ground.’

4:9These miracles would show the Israelites that Moses spoke with the authority of God.

10 Then Moses said to the LORD, ‘My Lord, I cannot speak well. I speak slowly and I speak with difficulty. I never could speak well. And even now, when you have spoken to me, I still cannot speak well.’

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 who can see, or who cannot see? It is I, the LORD God! 12 Now go! I will help you to speak well. I will teach you what you must say.’

13 But Moses said, ‘My Lord, please send some other person. Don't send me!’

14 Then the LORD became angry with Moses. He said, ‘Aaron, the Levite, is your brother. I know that he can speak very well. Look! He is coming to meet you now. When he sees you, he will be very happy.

15 So this is what you must do. You must speak to him. You must tell him what to say. I will help both of you to speak. And I will teach both of you what you must do. 16 Aaron will speak to the people on your behalf. He will be like your mouth, to speak your message. And you will be like God to him. You will tell him what to say. 17 Take this stick with you and hold it in your hand. You will use it to do the miracles to show that I have sent you.’

Moses returns to Egypt

18 Then Moses went back to Jethro, his wife's father. Moses said to him, ‘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.’

4:18Go in peace means that Jethro agreed with Moses. He wanted Moses to have a good journey and to arrive safely.

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 that command. That 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.

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.