4 1AND MOSES answered, [G]But behold, they will not believe me or listen to and obey my voice; for they will say, The Lord has not appeared to you. 2And the Lord said to him, What is that in your hand? And he said, A rod. 3And He said, Cast it on the ground. And he did so and it became a serpent [the symbol of royal and divine power worn on the crown of the Pharaohs]; and Moses fled from before it. 4And the Lord said to Moses, Put forth your hand and take it by the tail. And he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand, 5[This you shall do, said the Lord] that the elders may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has indeed appeared to you. 6The Lord said also to him, Put your hand into your bosom. He put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. 7[God] said, Put your hand into your bosom again. So he put his hand back into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored as the rest of his flesh. 8[Then God said] If they will not believe you or heed the voice or the testimony of the first sign, they may believe the voice or the witness of the second sign. 9But if they will also not believe these two signs or heed your voice, you shall take some water of the river [Nile] and pour it upon the dry land; and the water which you take out of the river [Nile] shall become blood on the dry land. 10And Moses said to the Lord, O Lord, I am not eloquent or a man of words, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and have a heavy and awkward tongue. 11And the Lord said to him, Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what you shall say. 13And he said, Oh, my Lord, I pray You, send by the hand of [some other] whom You will [send]. 14Then the anger of the Lord blazed against Moses; He said, Is there not Aaron your brother, the Levite? I know he can speak well. Also, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be overjoyed. 15You must 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 what you shall do. 16He shall speak for you to the people, acting as a mouthpiece for you, and you shall be as God to him. 17And you shall take this rod in your hand with which you shall work the signs [that prove I sent you]. 18And Moses went away and, returning to Jethro his father-in-law, said to him, Let me go back, I pray you, to my relatives in Egypt to see whether they are still alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. 19The Lord said to Moses in Midian, Go back to Egypt; for all the men who were seeking your life [for killing the Egyptian] are dead. 20And Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on donkeys, and he returned to the land of Egypt; and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 21And the Lord said to Moses, When you return into Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all those miracles and wonders which I have put in your hand; but I will make him stubborn and harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22And you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says the Lord, Israel is My son, even My firstborn. 23And I say to you, Let My son go, that he may serve Me; and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son, your firstborn. 24Along the way at a [resting-] place, the Lord met [Moses] and sought to kill him [made him acutely and almost fatally ill]. 25[Now apparently he had [H]failed to circumcise one of his sons, his wife being opposed to it; but seeing his life in such danger] Zipporah took a flint knife and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it to touch [Moses’] feet, and said, Surely a husband of blood you are to me! 26When He let [Moses] alone [to recover], Zipporah said, A husband of blood are you because of the circumcision. 27The Lord said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mountain of God [Horeb, or Sinai] and kissed him. 28Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which He had sent him, and all the signs with which He had charged him. 29Moses and Aaron went and gathered together [in Egypt] all the elders of the Israelites. 30Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the Israelites, and that He had looked [in compassion] upon their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.
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