Early Events in Moses’ Mission

Exodus 4:29-7:13

Highlights from this Passage

  • Moses and Aaron deliver God’s message to Pharaoh, who oppresses the people of Israel more and more.
  • The people of Israel cry out upon Moses and Aaron, and Moses complains to God.
  • God renews his promise to deliver the Israelites.
  • Moses speaks to the Israelites, but they do not believe him.
  • Moses and Aaron are sent to Pharaoh again.
  • God hardens Pharaoh’s heart.
  • Moses and Aaron perform the miracles of the serpent and the blood. Pharaoh’s sorcerers do the same.

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Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. Aaron spoke all the words which Yahweh had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. The people believed, and when they heard that Yahweh had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said to Pharaoh, “This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’”

Pharaoh said, “Who is Yahweh, that I should listen to his voice to let Israel go? I don’t know Yahweh, and moreover I will not let Israel go.”

They said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh, our God, lest he fall on us with pestilence, or with the sword.”

The king of Egypt said to them, “Why do you, Moses and Aaron, take the people from their work? Get back to your burdens!” Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens.” The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick, as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. You shall require from them the number of the bricks which they made before. You shall not diminish anything of it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, saying, ‘Let’s go and sacrifice to our God.’ Let heavier work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it. Don’t let them pay any attention to lying words.”

The taskmasters of the people went out with their officers, and they spoke to the people, saying, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you straw. Go yourselves, get straw where you can find it, for nothing of your work shall be diminished.’” So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. The taskmasters were urgent saying, “Fulfill your work quota daily, as when there was straw!” The officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and were asked, “Why haven’t you fulfilled your quota both yesterday and today, in making brick as before?”

Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, saying, “Why do you deal this way with your servants? No straw is given to your servants, and they tell us, ‘Make brick!’ and behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.”

But Pharaoh said, “You are idle! You are idle! Therefore you say, ‘Let’s go and sacrifice to Yahweh.’ Go therefore now, and work; for no straw shall be given to you; yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks!”

The officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble when it was said, “You shall not diminish anything from your daily quota of bricks!”

They met Moses and Aaron, who stood along the way, as they came out from Pharaoh. They said to them, “May Yahweh look at you and judge, because you have made us a stench to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us!”

Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, “Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Why is it that you have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people. You have not rescued your people at all!”

Yahweh said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh, for by a strong hand he shall let them go, and by a strong hand he shall drive them out of his land.”

God spoke to Moses, and said to him, “I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them. I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their travels, in which they lived as aliens. Moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered my covenant. Therefore tell the children of Israel, ‘I am Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments. I will take you to myself for a people. I will be your God; and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for a heritage: I am Yahweh.’”

Moses spoke so to the children of Israel, but they didn’t listen to Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.

Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Go in, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.”

Moses spoke before Yahweh, saying, “Behold, the children of Israel haven’t listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, when I have uncircumcised lips?” Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a command to the children of Israel, and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

These are the heads of their fathers’ houses. The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben. The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon. These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari; and the years of the life of Levi were one hundred thirty-seven years. The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families. The sons of Kohath: Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel; and the years of the life of Kohath were one hundred thirty-three years. The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations. Amram took Jochebed his father’s sister to himself as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses. The years of the life of Amram were one hundred thirty-seven years. The sons of Izhar: Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri. The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. Aaron took Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, as his wife; and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites. Eleazar Aaron’s son took one of the daughters of Putiel as his wife; and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites according to their families. These are that Aaron and Moses to whom Yahweh said, “Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies.” These are those who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt. These are that Moses and Aaron.

On the day when Yahweh spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, Yahweh said to Moses, “I am Yahweh. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I tell you.”

Moses said before Yahweh, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh listen to me?”

Yahweh said to Moses, “Behold, I have made you as God to Pharaoh; and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you; and Aaron your brother shall speak to Pharaoh, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not listen to you, so I will lay my hand on Egypt, and bring out my armies, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. The Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh when I stretch out my hand on Egypt, and bring the children of Israel out from among them.”

Moses and Aaron did so. As Yahweh commanded them, so they did. Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Perform a miracle!’ then you shall tell Aaron, ‘Take your rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, and it will become a serpent.’”

Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, as Yahweh had commanded. Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers. They also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same thing with their enchantments. For they each cast down their rods, and they became serpents; but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he didn’t listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken.

Moses and the Burning Bush

Exodus 3:1-4:28

Highlights from this Passage

  • Moses keeps sheep, and God appears to him in a bush.
  • God sends him to deliver the children of Israel.
  • God reveals his personal name to Moses.

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Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to God’s mountain, to Horeb. Yahweh’sangel appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the middle of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. Moses said, “I will go now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.”

When Yahweh saw that he came over to see, God called to him out of the middle of the bush, and said, “Moses! Moses!”

He said, “Here I am.”

He said, “Don’t come close. Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing on is holy ground.” Moreover he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Yahweh said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey; to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to me. Moreover I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

He said, “Certainly I will be with you. This will be the token to you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what should I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” and he said, “You shall tell the children of Israel this: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God said moreover to Moses, “You shall tell the children of Israel this, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and tell them, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt. I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ They will listen to your voice. You shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and you shall tell him, ‘Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now please let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to Yahweh, our God.’ I know that the king of Egypt won’t give you permission to go, no, not by a mighty hand. I will reach out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders which I will do among them, and after that he will let you go. I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and it will happen that when you go, you shall not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her who visits her house, jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and clothing. You shall put them on your sons, and on your daughters. You shall plunder the Egyptians.”

Moses answered, “But, behold, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice; for they will say, ‘Yahweh has not appeared to you.’”

Yahweh said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

He said, “A rod.”

He said, “Throw it on the ground.”

He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses ran away from it.

Yahweh 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.

“This is so that they may believe that Yahweh, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” Yahweh 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.

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.

“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. 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.”

Moses said to Yahweh, “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.”

Yahweh said to him, “Who made man’s mouth? Or who makes one mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Isn’t it I, Yahweh? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall speak.”

Moses said, “Oh, Lord, please send someone else.”

Yahweh’s anger burned against Moses, and he said, “What about Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Also, behold, he is coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 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. He will be your spokesman to the people. It will happen that he will be to you a mouth, and you will be to him as God. You shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”

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.”

Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, “Go, return into Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead.”

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. Yahweh 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. You shall tell Pharaoh, ‘Yahweh says, Israel is my son, my firstborn, 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 firstborn son.’”

On the way at a lodging place, Yahweh met Moses and wanted to kill him. 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.”

So he let him alone. Then she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.

Yahweh said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.”

He went, and met him on God’s mountain, and kissed him. Moses told Aaron all Yahweh’s words with which he had sent him, and all the signs with which he had instructed him.