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Exodus chapter 4

New International Version

1 Moses answered, 'What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?'
2 Then the LORD said to him, 'What is that in your hand?' 'A staff,' he replied.
3 The LORD said, 'Throw it on the ground.' Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the LORD said to him, 'Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.' So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 This,' said the LORD, 'is so 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 Then the LORD said, 'Put your hand inside your cloak.' So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous --it had become as white as snow.
7 Now put it back into your cloak,' he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.
8 Then the LORD said, 'If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.'
10 Moses said to the LORD, 'Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.'
11 The LORD said to him, 'Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.'
13 But Moses said, 'Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.'
14 Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, 'What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.'
18 Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, 'Let me return to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.' Jethro said, 'Go, and I wish you well.'
19 Now the LORD had said to Moses in Midian, 'Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead.' 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.
21 The LORD said to Moses, 'When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, 'Let my son go, so he may worship me.' But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.''
24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet with it. 'Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,' she said. 26 So the LORD let him alone. (At that time she said 'bridegroom of blood,' referring to circumcision.)
27 The LORD said to Aaron, 'Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.' So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron everything the LORD had sent him to say, and also about all the signs he had commanded him to perform.
29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
English Standard Version

1 Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.’” 2 The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” 3 And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it. 4 But the LORD said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff 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 Again, the LORD said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7 Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 8 “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign. 9 If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”
10 But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” 11 Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” 13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. 17 And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”
18 Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19 And the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.
21 And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’”
24 At a lodging place on the way the LORD met him and sought to put him to death. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.
27 The LORD said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD with which he had sent him to speak, and all the signs that he had commanded him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. 30 Aaron spoke all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.
King James Version

1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. 2 And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. 3 And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. 4 And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: 5 That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. 6 And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. 7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. 8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. 9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.
10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say. 13 And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. 15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. 17 And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.
18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father in law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. 19 And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life. 20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. 22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.
24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. 26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision. 27 And the LORD said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him. 29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: 30 And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.
New American Standard Bible

1 Then Moses said, 'What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’?' 2 The LORD said to him, 'What is that in your hand?' And he said, 'A staff.' 3 Then He said, 'Throw it on the ground.' So he threw it on the ground, and it turned into a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 But the LORD said to Moses, 'Reach out with your hand and grasp it by its tail'—so he reached out with his hand and caught it, and it turned into a staff in his hand— 5 'so 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 furthermore said to him, 'Now put your hand inside the fold of your robe.' So he put his hand inside the fold, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7 Then He said, 'Put your hand inside the fold of your robe again.' So he put his hand into the fold again, and when he took it out of the fold, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 8 'So if they will not believe you nor pay attention to the evidence of the first sign, they may believe the evidence of the last sign. 9 But if they will not believe even these two signs nor pay attention to what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will turn into blood on the dry ground.'
10 Then Moses said to the LORD, 'Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.' 11 But the LORD said to him, 'Who has made the human mouth? Or who makes anyone unable to speak or deaf, or able to see or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now then go, and I Myself will be with your mouth, and instruct you in what you are to say.' 13 But he said, 'Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.'
14 Then the anger of the LORD burned against Moses, and He said, 'Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be overjoyed. 15 So you are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I Myself will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will instruct you in what you are to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him. 17 And you shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.'
18 Then Moses departed and returned to his father-in-law Jethro, and said to him, 'Please, let me go, that I may return to my brothers who are in Egypt, and see if they are still alive.' And Jethro said to Moses, 'Go in peace.' 19 Now the LORD said to Moses in Midian, 'Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.' 20 So Moses took his wife and his sons and mounted them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. Moses also took the staff of God in his hand.
21 And the LORD said to Moses, 'When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: 'Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I said to you, ‘Let My son go so that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I am going to kill your son, your firstborn.'?’?'
24 But it came about at the overnight encampment on the way, that the LORD met Moses, and sought to put him to death. 25 So Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet; and she said, 'You are indeed a groom of blood to me!' 26 So He left him alone. At that time she said, 'You are a groom of blood'—because of the circumcision.
27 Now the LORD said to Aaron, 'Go to meet Moses in the wilderness.' So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD with which He had sent him, and all the signs that He had commanded him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the sons of Israel; 30 and Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses. He then performed the signs in the sight of the people. 31 So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, they bowed low and worshiped.
New Living Translation

1 But Moses protested again, 'What if they won't believe me or listen to me? What if they say, 'The LORD never appeared to you'?'
2 Then the LORD asked him, 'What is that in your hand?' 'A shepherd's staff,' Moses replied.
3 'Throw it down on the ground,' the LORD told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back.
4 Then the LORD told him, 'Reach out and grab its tail.' So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd's staff in his hand.
5 'Perform this sign,' the LORD told him. 'Then they will believe that the LORD, the God of their ancestors--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob--really has appeared to you.'
6 Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Now put your hand inside your cloak.' So Moses put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out again, his hand was white as snow with a severe skin disease. 7 'Now put your hand back into your cloak,' the LORD said. So Moses put his hand back in, and when he took it out again, it was as healthy as the rest of his body.
8 The LORD said to Moses, 'If they do not believe you and are not convinced by the first miraculous sign, they will be convinced by the second sign. 9 And if they don't believe you or listen to you even after these two signs, then take some water from the Nile River and pour it out on the dry ground. When you do, the water from the Nile will turn to blood on the ground.'
10 But Moses pleaded with the LORD, 'O Lord, I'm not very good with words. I never have been, and I'm not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.'
11 Then the LORD asked Moses, 'Who makes a person's mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.'
13 But Moses again pleaded, 'Lord, please! Send anyone else.'
14 Then the LORD became angry with Moses. 'All right,' he said. 'What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you. 15 Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do. 16 Aaron will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say. 17 And take your shepherd's staff with you, and use it to perform the miraculous signs I have shown you.'
18 So Moses went back home to Jethro, his father-in-law. 'Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt,' Moses said. 'I don't even know if they are still alive.' 'Go in peace,' Jethro replied.
19 Before Moses left Midian, the LORD said to him, 'Return to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you have died.'
20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. In his hand he carried the staff of God.
21 And the LORD told Moses, 'When you arrive back in Egypt, go to Pharaoh and perform all the miracles I have empowered you to do. But I will harden his heart so he will refuse to let the people go. 22 Then you will tell him, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son. 23 I commanded you, 'Let my son go, so he can worship me.' But since you have refused, I will now kill your firstborn son!''
24 On the way to Egypt, at a place where Moses and his family had stopped for the night, the LORD confronted him and was about to kill him. 25 But Moses' wife, Zipporah, took a flint knife and circumcised her son. She touched his feet with the foreskin and said, 'Now you are a bridegroom of blood to me.' 26 (When she said 'a bridegroom of blood,' she was referring to the circumcision.) After that, the LORD left him alone.
27 Now the LORD had said to Aaron, 'Go out into the wilderness to meet Moses.' So Aaron went and met Moses at the mountain of God, and he embraced him. 28 Moses then told Aaron everything the LORD had commanded him to say. And he told him about the miraculous signs the LORD had commanded him to perform.
29 Then Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt and called all the elders of Israel together. 30 Aaron told them everything the LORD had told Moses, and Moses performed the miraculous signs as they watched. 31 Then the people of Israel were convinced that the LORD had sent Moses and Aaron. When they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Moses answered, "What if they won't believe me and will not obey me but say, 'The LORD did not appear to you'?"
2 The LORD asked him, "What is that in your hand?" "A staff," he replied.
3 "Throw it on the ground," he said. So Moses threw it on the ground, it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 The LORD told Moses, "Stretch out your hand and grab it by the tail." So he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand. 5 "This will take place," he continued, "so that they will 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 In addition the LORD said to him, "Put your hand inside your cloak." So he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, his hand was diseased, resembling snow. 7 "Put your hand back inside your cloak," he said. So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, it had again become like the rest of his skin. 8 "If they will not believe you and will not respond to the evidence of the first sign, they may believe the evidence of the second sign. 9 And if they don't believe even these two signs or listen to what you say, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the Nile will become blood on the ground."
10 But Moses replied to the LORD, "Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent--either in the past or recently or since you have been speaking to your servant--because my mouth and my tongue are sluggish."
11 The LORD said to him, "Who placed a mouth on humans? Who makes a person mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go! I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say."
13 Moses said, "Please, Lord, send someone else."
14 Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses, and he said, "Isn't Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, he is on his way now to meet you. He will rejoice when he sees you. 15 You will speak with him and tell him what to say. I will help both you and him to speak and will teach you both what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you. He will serve as a mouth for you, and you will serve as God to him. 17 And take this staff in your hand that you will perform the signs with."
18 Then Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, "Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt and see if they are still living." Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace."
19 Now in Midian the LORD told Moses, "Return to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead." 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took God's staff in his hand.
21 The LORD instructed Moses, "When you go back to Egypt, make sure you do before Pharaoh all the wonders that I have put within your power. But I will harden his heart so that he won't let the people go. 22 And you will say to Pharaoh: This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son. 23 I told you: Let my son go so that he may worship me, but you refused to let him go. Look, I am about to kill your firstborn son!"
24 On the trip, at an overnight campsite, it happened that the LORD confronted him and intended to put him to death. 25 So Zipporah took a flint, cut off her son's foreskin, threw it at Moses's feet, and said, "You are a bridegroom of blood to me!" 26 So he let him alone. At that time she said, "You are a bridegroom of blood," referring to the circumcision.
27 Now the LORD had said to Aaron, "Go and meet Moses in the wilderness." So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron everything the LORD had sent him to say, and about all the signs he had commanded him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites. 30 Aaron repeated everything the LORD had said to Moses and performed the signs before the people. 31 The people believed, and when they heard that the LORD had paid attention to them and that he had seen their misery, they knelt low and worshiped.

What does Exodus chapter 4 mean?

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