But Moses spoke up and said, “What if they do not believe me and do not listen to me, but say: The LORD did not appear to you?”
The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he replied, “A rod.”
He said, “Cast it on the ground.” He cast it on the ground and it became a snake; and Moses recoiled from it.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Put out your hand and grasp it by the tail”—he put out his hand and seized it, and it became a rod in his hand—
“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, did appear to you.”
The LORD said to him further, “Put your hand into your bosom.” He put his hand into his bosom; and when he took it out, his hand was encrusted with snowy scales!aCf. Lev. 13.2–3.
And He said, “Put your hand back into your bosom.”—He put his hand back into his bosom; and when he took it out of his bosom, there it was again like the rest of his body.—
“And if they do not believe you or pay heed to the first sign, they will believe the second.
And if they are not convinced by both these signs and still do not heed you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and it—the water that you take from the Nile—will turn to blood on the dry ground.”
But Moses said to the LORD, “Please, O Lord, I have never been a man of words, either in times past or now that You have spoken to Your servant; I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
And the LORD said to him, “Who gives man speech? Who makes him dumb or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
Now go, and I will be with you as you speak and will instruct you what to say.”
But he said, “Please, O Lord, make someone else Your agent.”bLit. “send through whomever You will send.”
The LORD became angry with Moses, and He said, “There is your brother Aaron the Levite. He, I know, speaks readily. Even now he is setting out to meet you, and he will be happy to see you.
You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth—I will be with you and with him as you speak, and tell both of you what to do—
and he shall speak for you to the people. Thus he shall serve as your spokesman, with you playing the role of GodcCf. 7.1. to him.
And take with you this rod, with which you shall perform the signs.”
Moses went back to his father-in-law JetherdI.e., Jethro. and said to him, “Let me go back to my kinsmen in Egypt and see how they are faring.”eLit. “whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”
The LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who sought to kill you are dead.”
So Moses took his wife and sons, mounted them on an ass, and went back to the land of Egypt; and Moses took the rod of God with him.
And the LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the marvels that I have put within your power. I, however, will stiffen his heart so that he will not let the people go.
Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: Israel is My first-born son.
I have said to you, “Let My son go, that he may worship Me,” yet you refuse to let him go. Now I will slay your first-born son.’”
At a night encampment on the way, the LORD encountered him and sought to kill him.
fMeaning of vv. 25–26 uncertain. So Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched his legs with it, saying, “You are truly a bridegroom of blood to me!”
And when He let him alone, she added, “A bridegroom of blood because of the circumcision.”
The LORD said to Aaron, “Go to meet Moses in the wilderness.” He went and met him at the mountain of God, and he kissed him.
Moses told Aaron about all the things that the LORD had committed to him and all the signs about which He had instructed him.
Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites.
Aaron repeated all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and he performed the signs in the sight of the people,
and the people were convinced. When they heard that the LORD had taken note of the Israelites and that He had seen their plight, they bowed low in homage.