Exodus 4

1 Moses answered, “But, behold, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice; for they will say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’” 2 The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” 3 He said, “Throw it on the ground.” He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses ran away from it. 4 The LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand, and take it by the tail.” He stretched out his hand, and took hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand. 5 “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 The LORD said furthermore to him, “Now put your hand inside your cloak.” He put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. 7 He said, “Put your hand inside your cloak again.” He put his hand inside his cloak again, and when he took it out of his cloak, behold, it had turned again as his other flesh. 8 “It will happen, if they will not believe you or listen to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. 9 It will happen, if they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, that you shall take of the water of the river, and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take out of the river will become blood on the dry land.” 10 Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before now, nor since you have spoken to your servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” 11 The LORD said to him, “Who made man’s mouth? Or who makes one mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Isn’t it I, the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 He said, “Oh, Lord, please send someone else.” 14 the LORD’s anger burnt against Moses, and he said, “What about Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Also, behold, he comes out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You shall speak to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with your mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. 16 He will be your spokesman to the people; and it will happen, that he will be to you a mouth, and you will be to him as God. 17 You shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.” 18 Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, “Please let me go and return to my brothers who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive.” Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19 The LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go, return into Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead.” 20 Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. Moses took God’s rod in his hand. 21 The LORD said to Moses, “When you go back into Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your hand, but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go. 22 You shall tell Pharaoh, ‘the LORD says, Israel is my son, my firstborn, 23 and I have said to you, “Let my son go, that he may serve me”; and you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.’” 24 On the way at a lodging place, the LORD met Moses and wanted to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me.” 26 So he let him alone. Then she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision. 27 The LORD said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” He went, and met him on God’s mountain, and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron all the LORD’s words with which he had sent him, and all the signs with which he had instructed him. 29 Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. 30 Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 The people believed, and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–9

Moses objects, that the people would not take his word, unless he showed them some sign. God gives him power to work miracles. But those who are now employed to deliver God’s messages to men, need not the power to work miracles: their character and their doctrines are to be tried by that word of God to which they appeal. These miracles especially referred to the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ. It belonged to Him only, to cast the power of the devil out of the soul, and to heal the soul of the leprosy of sin; and so it was for Him first to cast the devil out of the body, and to heal the leprosy of the body.

Verses 10–17

Moses continued backward to the work God designed him for; there was much of cowardice, slothfulness, and unbelief in him. We must not judge of men by the readiness of their discourse. A great deal of wisdom and true worth may be with a slow tongue. God sometimes makes choice of those as his messengers, who have the least of the advantages of art or nature, that his grace in them may appear the more glorious. Christ’s disciples were no orators, till the Holy Spirit made them such. God condescends to answer the excuse of Moses. Even self-diffidence, when it hinders us from duty, or clogs us in duty, is very displeasing to the Lord. But while we blame Moses for shrinking from this dangerous service, let us ask our own hearts if we are not neglecting duties more easy, and less perilous. The tongue of Aaron, with the head and heart of Moses, would make one completely fit for this errand. God promises, I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth. Even Aaron, who could speak well, yet could not speak to purpose, unless God gave constant teaching and help; for without the constant aid of Divine grace, the best gifts will fail.

Verses 18–23

After God had appeared in the bush, he often spake to Moses. Pharaoh had hardened his own heart against the groans and cries of the oppressed Israelites; and now God, in the way of righteous judgment, hardens his heart against the teaching of the miracles, and the terror of the plagues. But whether Pharaoh will hear, or whether he will forbear, Moses must tell him, Thus saith the Lord. He must demand a discharge for Israel, Let my son go; not only my servant, whom thou hast no right to detain, but my son. It is my son that serves me, and therefore must be spared, must be pleaded for. In case of refusal I will slay thy son, even thy first-born. As men deal with God’s people, let them expect so to be dealt with.

Verses 24–31

God met Moses in anger. The Lord threatened him with death or sent sickness upon him, as the punishment of his having neglected to circumcise his son. When God discovers to us what is amiss in our lives, we must give all diligence to amend it speedily. This is the voice of every rod; it calls us to return to Him that smites us. God sent Aaron to meet Moses. The more they saw of God’s bringing them together, the more pleasant their interview was. The elders of Israel met them in faith, and were ready to obey them. It often happens, that less difficulty is found than was expected, in such undertakings as are according to the will of God, and for his glory. Let us but arise and try at our proper work, the Lord will be with us and prosper us. If Israel welcomed the tidings of their deliverance, and worshipped the Lord, how should we welcome the glad tidings of redemption, embrace it in faith, and adore the Redeemer!

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