1Moses answered, “What if the elders of Israel won't believe me? What if they won't listen to me? Suppose they say, ‘The Lord didn't appear to you.’ Then what should I do?”2The Lord said to him, “What do you have in your hand?” “A wooden staff,” he said.3The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” So Moses threw it on the ground. It turned into a snake. He ran away from it.4Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach your hand out. Take the snake by the tail.” So he reached out and grabbed hold of the snake. It turned back into a staff in his hand.5The Lord said, “When they see this miraculous sign, they will believe that I appeared to you. I am the God of their fathers. I am the God of Abraham. I am the God of Isaac. And I am the God of Jacob.”6Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your coat.” So Moses put his hand inside his coat. When he took it out, it was as white as snow. It was covered with a skin disease.7“Now put it back into your coat,” the Lord said. So Moses put his hand back into his coat. When he took it out, the skin was healthy again. His hand was like the rest of his skin.8Then the Lord said, “Suppose they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miracle. Then maybe they will believe the second one.9“But suppose they do not believe either miracle. Suppose they will not listen to you. Then get some water from the Nile River. Pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will turn to blood on the ground.”10Moses spoke to the Lord. He said, “Lord, I've never been a good speaker. And I haven't gotten any better since you spoke to me. I don't speak very well at all.”11The Lord said to him, “Who makes a man able to talk? Who makes him unable to hear or speak? Who makes him able to see? Who makes him blind? It is I, the Lord.12Now go. I will help you speak. I will teach you what to say.”13But Moses said, “Lord, please send someone else to do it.”14Then the Lord's anger burned against Moses. He said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you. He will be glad to see you.15Speak to him. Put your words in his mouth. Tell him what to say. I will help both of you speak. I will teach you what to do.16He will speak to the people for you. He will be like your mouth. And you will be like God to him.17“But take this wooden staff in your hand. You will be able to do miraculous signs with it.”
Moses Returns to Egypt
18Then Moses went back to his father‑in‑law Jethro. He said to him, “Let me go back to my own people in Egypt. I want to see if any of them are still alive.” Jethro said, “Go. I hope everything goes well with you.”19The Lord had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt. All of the men who wanted to kill you are dead.”20So Moses got his wife and sons. He put them on a donkey. Together they started back to Egypt. And he took the wooden staff in his hand. It was the staff God would use in a powerful way.21The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, “When you return to Egypt, do all of the miracles I have given you the power to do. Do them in the sight of Pharaoh. But I will make his heart stubborn. He will not let the people go.22“Then say to Pharaoh, ‘The Lord says, “Israel is like an oldest son to me.23I told you, ‘Let my son go. Then he will be able to worship me.’ But you refused to let him go. So I will kill your oldest son.” ’ ”24On the way to Egypt, Moses stopped for the night. There the Lord met him and was about to kill him.25But Zipporah got a knife that was made out of hard stone. She circumcised her son with it. Then she touched Moses’ feet with the skin she had cut off. “You are a husband who has forced me to spill my son's blood,” she said.26So the Lord didn't kill Moses. When she said “husband who has forced me to spill my son's blood,” she was talking about circumcision.27The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the desert to see Moses.” So he greeted Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him.28Then Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say. He also told him about all of the miraculous signs he had commanded him to do.29Moses and Aaron gathered all of the elders of Israel together.30Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also did the miracles in the sight of the people.31And they believed. They heard that the Lord was concerned about them. He had seen their suffering. So they bowed down and worshiped him.
English Standard Version
Moses Given Powerful Signs
1Then 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.’”2The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” (Ex 4:17; Ex 4:20)3And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.4But 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.” (Ex 3:6; Ex 19:9)6Again, 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. (Nu 12:10; 2Ki 5:27)7Then 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. (2Ki 5:14)8“If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign.9If 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.” (Ex 7:19)10But 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.” (Ex 6:12; Jer 1:6)11Then 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?12Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (Ex 3:12; Isa 50:4; Jer 1:9; Eze 33:22; Mt 10:19; Mr 13:11; Lu 12:11; Lu 21:15)13But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”14Then 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. (Ex 4:27)15You 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. (Ex 4:12; Ex 7:1; Nu 22:38; Nu 23:5; Nu 23:12; Nu 23:16; De 18:18; 2Sa 14:3; 2Sa 14:19; Isa 51:16)16He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. (Ex 4:30; Ex 7:1; Ex 18:19)17And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.” (Ex 4:2; Ex 7:15)
Moses Returns to Egypt
18Moses 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.” (Ex 2:18)19And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” (Ex 2:15; Ex 2:23; Mt 2:20)20So 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. (Ex 17:9; Ex 18:2; Nu 20:8)21And 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. (Ex 3:20; Ex 7:13; Ex 7:22; Ex 8:15; Ex 8:32; Ex 9:12; Ex 9:35; Ex 10:1; Ex 14:8; De 2:30; Jos 11:20; Isa 63:17; Ro 9:17)22Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, (Jer 31:9; Ho 11:1)23and 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.’” (Ex 11:5; Ex 12:29)24At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him to death. (Ge 17:14; Nu 22:22; 1Ch 21:16)25Then 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!” (Ex 2:21; Jos 5:2)26So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.27The 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. (Ex 3:1; Ex 4:14)28And 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. (Ex 4:3; Ex 4:15)29Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. (Ex 3:16)30Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. (Ex 4:16)31And 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. (Ge 24:26; Ex 2:25; Ex 3:7; Ex 3:16; Ex 3:18; Ex 4:8; Ex 12:27; 1Ch 29:20)