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Exodus Chapter 4 | Parsha: Shemot

1But Moses spoke up and said, “What if they do not believe me and do not listen to me, but say: The Lord did not appear to you?” 2The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he replied, “A rod.” 3He said, “Cast it on the ground.” He cast it on the ground and it became a snake; and Moses recoiled from it. 4Then the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and grasp it by the tail”—he put out his hand and seized it, and it became a rod 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, did appear to you.”

6The Lord said to him further, “Put your hand into your bosom.” He put his hand into his bosom; and when he took it out, his hand was encrusted with snowy scales! 7And He said, “Put your hand back into your bosom.”—He put his hand back into his bosom; and when he took it out of his bosom, there it was again like the rest of his body.— 8“And if they do not believe you or pay heed to the first sign, they will believe the second. 9And if they are not convinced by both these signs and still do not heed you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and it—the water that you take from the Nile—will turn to blood on the dry ground.”

10But Moses said to the Lord, “Please, O Lord, I have never been a man of words, either in times past or now that You have spoken to Your servant; I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 11And the Lord said to him, “Who gives man speech? Who makes him dumb or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12Now go, and I will be with you as you speak and will instruct you what to say.” 13But he said, “Please, O Lord, make someone else Your agent.” 14The Lord became angry with Moses, and He said, “There is your brother Aaron the Levite. He, I know, speaks readily. Even now he is setting out to meet you, and he will be happy to see you. 15You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth—I will be with you and with him as you speak, and tell both of you what to do— 16and he shall speak for you to the people. Thus he shall serve as your spokesman, with you playing the role of God to him, 17And take with you this rod, with which you shall perform the signs.”

18Moses went back to his father-in-law Jether and said to him, “Let me go back to my kinsmen in Egypt and see how they are faring.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

19The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who sought to kill you are dead.” 20So Moses took his wife and sons, mounted them on an ass, and went back to the land of Egypt; and Moses took the rod of God with him.

21And the Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the marvels that I have put within your power. I, however, will stiffen his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is My first-born son. 23I have said to you, “Let My son go, that he may worship Me,” yet you refuse to let him go. Now I will slay your first-born son.’”

24At a night encampment on the way, the Lord encountered him and sought to kill him. 25 So Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched his legs with it, saying, “You are truly a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26And when He let him alone, she added, “A bridegroom of blood because of the circumcision.”

27The Lord said to Aaron, “Go to meet Moses in the wilderness.” He went and met him at the mountain of God, and he kissed him. 28Moses told Aaron about all the things that the Lord had committed to him and all the signs about which He had instructed him. 29Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites. 30Aaron repeated all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and he performed the signs in the sight of the people, 31and the people were convinced. When they heard that the Lord had taken note of the Israelites and that He had seen their plight, they bowed low in homage.

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