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Book of Exodus Chapter 4 Summary

Moses Becomes SuperMoses

  • Moses asks God what he should do if the Israelites tell him to get lost.
  • God gives Moses three miracles to perform: His staff can now turn into a snake and back into a staff; his hand can turn leprous then become healthy again; and the water that Moses draws from the Nile can turn to blood. Cool bag of miracles.
  • Moses tells God that he's never been a great talker. God reminds Moses that he, God, created Moses's mouth, so it shouldn't be a big deal.
  • Just to be sure Pharaoh gets the message, God appoints Aaron, Moses's brother, to speak for Moses. God says to Moses, "He [Aaron] shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him" (4:16). There's a chain of command here, folks.
  • Jethro, Moses's father-in-law, gives Moses permission to go back to Egypt, and Moses takes his wife and sons (notice how we only heard about the birth of one) on a donkey. Road trip!
  • God tells Moses to use the miracles, but says, "I will harden Pharaoh's heart, so that he will not let the people go" (4:21). God also threatens to kill Pharaoh's firstborn son if he doesn't let Moses do his thing.
  • Interlude time. Exodus 4:24-26 is a weird one. Here's the passage: 
  • On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the Lord met him and tried to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin, and touched Moses' feet with it, and said, "Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!" So he let him alone. It was then she said, "A bridegroom of blood by circumcision."
  • Hmmm. The trouble is, "him" in verse 24 could refer to Moses or Moses's son. Many scholars think that this passage is a point at which the writers wanted to replace child sacrifice with circumcision. Either way, it's a funky one, so heads up.
  • God commands Aaron to meet Moses at Mount Horeb. They hang out for a while, catch up, and then go assemble the Israelite elders. Aaron talks, Moses shows off his miracles, and the people decide that these guys should be in charge. 
  • Deal.

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