Exodus 4:1-31


A general outline of the chapter:


I.   Ex 4:1-9 – Moses makes other objections to his mission;

A.     One is taken from the unbelief of the people of Israel, which is removed by giving him power to work miracles, by turning the rod in his hand into a serpent, and then into a rod again; and by putting his hand into his bosom at one time, when it became leprous, and again into the same place, when it became sound and whole, and by turning the water of the river into blood,

B.     Ex 4:10-17 – Another objection is formed from his want of eloquence, which is answered with an assurance, that God, that made man's mouth, would be with his mouth, and teach him what to say; and besides, Aaron his brother, who was an eloquent man, should be his spokesman.


II.   Ex 4:18-20 – Moses returned to Midian, and having obtained leave of his father-in-law to depart from thence, he took his wife and his sons, and returned to Egypt.


III.   Ex 4:21-23 – Moses receives more instructions from the Lord what he should do before Pharaoh, and what he should say unto him.

IV.   Ex 4:24-26 – The account of what befell Moses by the way, because of the circumcision of his son.

V.   Ex 4:27-31 – The chapter is closed with an account of the meeting of Moses and Aaron, and of their gathering the elders of Israel together, to whom the commission of Moses was opened, and signs done before them, to which they gave credit, and expressed their joy and thankfulness.



Verse 1-17

Moses makes other objections to his mission.


The Third Objection of Moses

The Question of Accepting (Believing)


Verse 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.

I.   The kind of unbelief Moses had was not an unbelief that is rebellion.

A.     It is very, very close to rebellion.

1.       Exodus 3:18 reveals that God told Moses the elders of Israel will harken to the voice of Moses.

2.       If the unbelief was of rebellion, God would not continue showing him what he was going to do.

3.       Moses has not completely come to the place of rebellion, but he is very near.

4.       It would behoove us to be careful when we say that things will not happen the way God says they will happen.

B.     Moses unbelief is at a turning point.

1.       He could turn to God and believe.

2.       He could turn to self and not believe.

C.     The other option is that Moses is asking God to give him a miracle to prove to Israel that God sent him.

1.       I doubt this is the case because the miracle before us is the first recorded miracle.

2.       I doubt Moses would have thought of this.

3.       The three miracles are God’s idea, not Moses’.


The Fourth Time God Reasoned with Moses

The First Recorded Use of Miracles


Verse 2, And the LORD said unto him, What [is] that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.

I.   The first recorded use of a miracle in the Bible was because of unbelief.

A.     Ex. 4:2-9 - In this place, God gives Moses three miracles that will convince Israel that he is from God.

1.       It is very remarkable that Israel has been praying for a deliverer and when God sends them one, they still have to see a sign to believe.

2.       Acts 12:13-17 - When Rhoda told the praying disciples that Peter was out of jail and was knocking on their door, they exclaimed that she was mad.

3.       People are always the same.

4.       We pray, God hears, and sends an answer to our prayers, and we still don't believe!

B.     God also gives these miracles to show to Moses that God is sending him.

1.       Moses might not completely believe that God was talking to him.

2.       These miracles would certainly convince him that this was not his imagination!

C.     Miracles do not make for strong Christians.

1.       Numbers 14:11 - Israel still doesn't believe God even though He has shown them many great miracles.

2.       Mark 16:17 - Jesus gave miracles so those people who saw would see and believe.  People today are still seeking signs and miracles instead of believe the God that sent them in the first place.

3.       John 4:48 - Jesus declared people wouldn't believe Him unless they saw some great sign or miracle.

4.       John 6:28,29 - Jesus declared that believing in Him was a work of God, but the people wanted to see a sign that he was the Christ.  They were just looking for another meal.

5.       I Cor. 14:22 - Tongues are a sign, not to those that believe, but to those that believe not.

6.       The eye is never satisfied with seeing miracles and signs, but the heart can be full of believing without a miracle or sign.

D.     Moses does become very faithful to God, but not because of the miracles.

1.       As he followed God, he learned more and more about God, and was satisfied to serve Him without miracles.

2.       So it is today.

3.       Miracles may draw an unbeliever to God, but faith is what causes him to stay.


Verse 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.

I.   I suppose this is a good place to remark that Moses obeyed the commands of God in verse 3 and 6.

A.     Moses was obedient to God.

1.       It is true that he didn't want to return to Egypt, which God was asking him to do.

2.       God gave Moses these “little” commands so he would learn to obey him in the little things first.

3.       After Moses has obeyed God in some of these “little” things, he will grow up enough to follow God in some “big” things.

B.     Moses doesn't have any trouble obeying God in the little things, it's going back to lead Israel out of Egypt he has trouble with.

1.       To cast down a rod, or to put one's hand in the bosom isn't near as serious or time consuming as leaving his comfortable home, and returning to Egypt.

2.       Other people are not involved in these actions, but when Moses returns to Egypt, his entire family, and his wife's family will be involved.

3.       I don't think Moses meant to leave the profession of Shepherd to become Israel's leader when he cast down the rod.

4.       He didn't know what would happen, but simply obeyed.

C.     I believe Moses was really willing to obey God, but was very fearful of the outcome.


II.   Why did God use the rod and a serpent?

A.     The rod is a shepherds staff, used by the shepherd to control the sheep.

1.       It is a symbol of power and authority.

2.       In this case it represents the power of God through Moses.

3.       Most of the works of God through Moses will be performed through the rod, the symbol of the power of God.

B.     The serpent is the symbol of Satan.

1.       Genesis 3:1 - Satan entered the body of the serpent and deceived the woman.

2.       Numbers 21:4-9 - God sent serpents to bit the Israelites in the wilderness, and had Moses place a fiery serpent on a pole for their healing.

a.       The serpents that bit the people were clearly snakes.

b.       The fiery serpent God commanded Moses to make and put on a pole was clearly a seraphim.

c.       There are different Hebrew words used to define the serpent that bit and the serpent that saved.

d.       There is a difference between the sin and the saviour.

3.       Rev. 12:9 - The devil is called a serpent.

C.     The serpent is probably the cobra, which appears as a symbol of divine power and authority on the diadem of every Pharaoh.

1.       This clearly symbolized that the power and authority of God will break the power and authority of Pharaoh and Egypt.

2.       The battle is actually between God and Satan, not between Moses and Pharaoh.

3.       Moses and Pharaoh are “small potatoes” in the bigger battle.

4.       This was a symbol Moses could see very clearly, because he was trained in the ways of Egypt.


III.   Moses fleeing from the serpent shows that it was real.

A.     This was not a figment of Moses imagination, nor hypnosis.

1.       God didn’t make the rod to “look like” a serpent.

2.       The rod actually became a serpent.

3.       Moses believed it was real because he fled from before it.

B.     It was unexpected.

1.       God didn't tell Moses beforehand what He was going to do.

2.       When Moses threw down the rod, he probably threw it close to his feet, so he was naturally afraid when the rod turned into a serpent.

C.     Moses fleeing from the serpent showed his immaturity.

1.       God would never command us to do anything that would hurt us.

2.       God is able to control the serpent He made from the rod of Aaron.

3.       God will never command us to do anything that will hurt us, but everything He commands us to do will help us and allow us to be a better witness.


Verse 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:

I.   Moses picking up the serpent shows his faith in God.

A.     God will always give us a command we can obey.

1.       It would be foolish to take the serpent by the head, because it might bite.

2.       God knows that, therefore commanded Moses to take the serpent by the tail.

3.       God only gives us commands as we grow up enough to obey them.

4.       He never expects us to do more than we are able.

5.       God knew he was afraid of it, but gave him a command he could follow and still be obedient.

B.     He obeyed God by taking it by the tail, not by the head, or body.

1.       He was still afraid of it.

2.       It's good to be afraid of snakes.

3.       It's good to be afraid of the devil.

C.     God took care of Satan's head, man should take care of his tail.

1.       Genesis 3:15 - Jesus Christ will crush Satan's head, therefore man shouldn't even try to take hold of it.

2.       Jude 9 - Michael the archangel didn't bring a railing accusation against Satan, but said, the Lord rebuke thee.

3.       This is exactly what we ought to do.


II.   The serpent became a rod again.

A.     This shows the complete power of God over all his creation.

1.       If he desires, he can make any inanimate object into any animate object.

2.       This miracle should convince Moses, Israel, and Egypt, but it doesn't.

3.       Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

4.       A person needs faith to believe, not sight.

B.     There is no record that Moses was afraid of the rod.

1.       He wasn't worried about the rod becoming a serpent when it wasn't supposed to.

2.       This miracle gave him a faith in God so he could handle the rod with confidence, knowing it would continue being a rod.


Verse 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.

I.   This miracle is not to prove that God is God.

A.     If Israel doesn't believe God is God, nothing will prove it to them.

1.       It is impossible to prove that God is real, just like it is impossible to prove that heaven, hell, or eternity is real.

2.       These things are accepted by faith, not sight.


II.   This miracle is to prove that God has appeared to Moses.

A.     There is no doubt in my mind that some will still doubt.

1.       Some would doubt regardless of what they saw.

2.       Matt. 28:17 - Some saw Christ after his resurrection, but still doubted.

B.     There are coming some very trying times ahead, and the followers of Moses must be assured that God is with their leader.

1.       In spite of all this evidence, many will doubt.

2.       May God help us to see the truth, regardless of the evidence.


Verse 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.

I.   God is not content to give Moses just one miracle.

A.     There will be a three fold cord of evidence that Moses simply can't deny.

1.       Eccl. 4:12 - A threefold cord is not easily broken.

2.       The first is the miracle of turning the rod into a serpent.

3.       The second is his hand turning leprous and then back whole again.

4.       The third is pouring out the water of the river Nile and it will turn into blood.

B.     It is amazing that God so very gently shows us of His gracious presence and power.

1.       If He didn't show us anything, He would be completely justified.

2.       If He showed us one time, that would be completely justified.

3.       Instead, He slowly reveals Himself to us over and over again, as we can stand it, and we learn who He is, and what He desires of us.

4.       What a marvelous God!


II.   It must be noticed that Moses did not demand any more miracles or signs from God.

A.     If Moses had asked for another miracle, this one would surely scare him out of asking for another.

B.     There is no mention of Moses being fearful at his diseased hand.

1.       Leprosy is a disease which signifies a condemnation of God.

2.       Moses didn't appear to be afraid of God's condemnation.

3.       I believe he knew God was in total control of everything, and had totally given himself over to him.

4.       He just didn't want to go to Egypt!


Verse 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.

I.   This miracle would show Moses that God was in complete control of the entire physical world.


Verse 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.

I.   God didn't mention that Moses didn't believe him, but speaks about the Israelites still in Egypt.


Verse 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].

I.   This is a miracle that God said He would do.

A.     Moses didn't have to see the third miracle to believe God, because he already believed iHimHHim.Him.

B.     Exodus 4:29-31 - Moses and Aaron spoke all the words of God and showed the signs of God to Israel.

1.       I believe Aaron (in the sight of Moses) performed all three miracles before the people of Israel.

2.       It took all three signs for the people to believe, but Moses believed without seeing any signs at all.  [1]


The Fourth Objection of Moses

The Question of Articulation (Speaking)


Verse 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.

I.   This is more than mere bashfulness, or self abasement.

A.     No man is worthy to present the gospel message, or to do God's bidding in this world.

B.     Moses doesn't want to go.

1.       He doesn't want his life changed around, because he is very settled in his present life.

2.       The person who believes in their own eloquence has missed the entire point.

C.     God will teach all people that it is not the word well spoken (eloquence) that drives men to Christ, it is the Word.


II.   The times Moses hasn't been eloquent.

A.     Eloquent means a man of words.

1.       A man who can speak well, easily, and move people to perform that which he desires.

2.       Moses declares rightfully to God that he is a man of slow speech, and of a slow tongue.

3.       I do not believe Moses has a speech impediment, but that he can’t think quick enough and doesn’t have the necessary knowledge to bring out what he wants to say quickly.

B.     Heretofore - in the past.

1.       Moses might have been thinking about the time in Egypt when the Israelites asked him who made him a prince or judge and he didn't know what to say.

2.       If he related that past experience to a future expectation, he was looking at defeat again.

C.     Nor since God begin speaking to him.

1.       I wonder if Moses expected God to really let him speak eloquently, immediately.

2.       This reminds me of the man who was surprised when I told him I had to study.

a.       He fully expected that preachers didn't have to study.

b.       I asked him if he thought God just stuck a funnel in their head, and poured the information in without any effort on their part.

D.     Moses could have been thinking about his use of the Egyptian language, which he hadn’t used in 40 years.

1.       It would be difficult for Moses to “brush up” on his language skills, and present God’s Word to the Egyptians like God wanted.

2.       This might have been the case, but I don’t think so.

3.       I really think Moses just didn’t want to be bothered.

4.       He didn’t want his life to change, but wanted to continue in obscurity.

5.       This shows Moses complete disregard for the situation his fellow Jews were in.

6.       It also showed Moses lack of desire to see the promises of God fulfilled in the nation of Israel.

E.      The people God calls.

1.       I Cor. 1:26-29 - God calls those who will show the world what He has done, not what they have done.

2.       God called uneducated fishermen to follow Him and to become the first church so the educated Jews could see the power of God in His Word, not in the one speaking the Word.

3.       Frankly, it seems to me it is better that Moses knows he doesn’t have the ability to speak, so he will depend the more on God, and not on his quick thinking or great eloquence.


III.   Deut. 1:1 speaks about the eloquence of Moses.

A.     The entire book of Deuteronomy is three sermons preached by Moses to Israel.

B.     Aaron is dead, and there is nobody that will now be Moses' spokesman.

1.       Aaron was not a benefit to the ministry of Moses, but a drawback.

2.       He did help at time, but in the overall ministry, Aaron hurt more than he helped.

C.     Acts 7:22 - Stephen said Moses was mighty in deeds and words.

1.       “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.”

2.       These words are inspired by God Almighty – therefore Moses was eloquent.


The Fifth Time God Reasoned with Moses


Verse 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?

I.   God wants Moses to have confidence, and not be afraid.

A.     One of the best ways to have confidence is to get our eyes off ourselves, and on to God.

1.       God informs Moses that He has made man’s mouth, giving him the ability to speak.

2.       God informs Moses that He is the one that opens the ears, and eyes of man.

3.       In other words, God is telling Moses that whether or not Israel or Egypt hears the Word of God is not up to the eloquence of Moses.

4.       It is up to God.

B.     One of the best ways to lack confidence is to look at ourselves.

1.       Moses is going to have to learn this lesson and apply it if he is going to have victory.

2.       The same thing is true of us.

3.       We are going to have to learn that it is God who opens and closes eyes, ears, and actions.

4.       It is our job to do what God tells us to do, and leave the victory up to Him.


Verse 12, Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

I.   God has ceased persuading Moses, and has begun to command him.

A.     This point comes in all our lives.

1.       There are some things God wants us to do, which we can refuse, and miss the blessings of it.

2.       There are some other things we will do because God has predetermined that we will do it.

3.       God still wants willing servants.

B.     God urges Moses to go.

1.       It is amazing that God deals with Moses (and us) thus.

2.       The Almighty God, who created us and everything in this world and entire universe, still commands with urgings that we obey.

C.     God will teach Moses what to say.

1.       Moses will not know beforehand, but God will tell him what to say as he goes along.

2.       Mark 13:11 declares “But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.”

a.       When Christ was instructing the disciples that they must go to all places, preaching the gospel, even under persecution, he urged them to depend on Him, not on what they would say to convince anybody.

b.       Practically speaking, it is impossible to know beforehand what we need to say because there is no way of knowing what the other person will bring up.

c.       We may spend endless and senseless time worrying and trying to prepare what we will say, when we ought to spend that time in earnest prayer, and then trusting God to take care of the other person, and us.


The Fifth Objection of Moses

The Question of Non-Compliance


Verse 13, And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand [of him whom] thou wilt send.

I.   This fifth objection of Moses uses up all the grace God gave him.

A.     Five is the Bible number for grace, and Moses has used it all up.

1.       This doesn't mean that Moses won't do what God told him to do.

2.       It means God will do something to make Moses willing to obey.

a.       God kept Jonah in the fish's belly for three days and three nights so he would be willing to preach at Ninevah.

b.       God will allow Aaron to be the mouth of Moses so Moses will be willing to preach to the Israelites.

B.     David picked up five smooth stones and used one stone to kill Goliath.

1.       He had as much grace left over when he finished with Goliath as he had when he started.

2.       May God help us to obey God in every thing, using the grace He offers us.


II.   It could be said that this speech by Moses is Moses reconciling himself to obedience.

A.     It might seem that this position is correct until the context is taken into account.

1.       There are many mistakes made in interpretation because a passage is taken out of context.

2.       There is no such thing as a private interpretation of any verse, but every verse in the Bible is explained by another passage.

B.     The context of the passage (especially the very next verse) reveals that God was angry with Moses because He didn’t want to go.


The Sixth Time God Reasoned with Moses


Verse 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.

I.   Heb. 10:31, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

A.     All Moses gets from rebelling against God’s command is the anger of God.

1.       Moses is going to obey the commands of God.

2.       When Moses obeys the commands of God, he will continually see Aaron as the spokesman, and will remember his rebellion against God.

B.     All we get from rebelling against God’s command is the anger of God.

1.       We are also going to obey the commands of God, or pay the price for disobedience.

2.       God will so arrange the circumstances of our life that we will remember our disobedience, and His grace toward us in allowing us to serve him in spite of our rebellion.


II.   God knows that Aaron can speak well.

A.     If God wanted a good speaker, He would have chosen Aaron, and forgot about Moses.

B.     It is not a good speaker God wants, He wants a faithful and true leader.

1.       God knows there is coming a time when Israel will rebel against him in the wilderness.

2.       God knows Moses will pray to him that He will spare Israel from punishment and judgment.

3.       It just might be that Moses remembers his own disobedience and what God did for him in forgiving Him and keeping him in the ministry, therefore Moses is a better intercessor for rebellious Israel.


III.   When does Aaron come to Moses?

A.     If we just read this single verse, we will believe that Aaron comes to Moses immediately.

1.       But if we read other verses, it seems Aaron didn’t come immediately, but came later.

2.       Exodus 4:27 reveals that Aaron came to Moses in the way, but still came to the mount of God.

3.       God didn’t appear to Aaron before He appeared to Moses, which He would have had to do for Aaron to make the trip all the way from Egypt to Mount Horeb and be there when Exodus 4:14 takes place.

B.     Aaron coming to Moses.

1.       God spoke to Aaron while he was still in Egypt, instructing him to go to Moses.

a.       The proof of this statement is found in I Samuel 2:27,28 where the man of God came to Eli, who is described below, rebuking him for forsaking the morals of his office.

b.       Eli forgot that Aaron was nothing at all, when God appeared to him while he was still in Egypt, choosing him out of all the tribes of Israel to be High Priest.

c.       Eli has forgotten what a privilege it is to be the spiritual leader of Israel, and has begun to take his office for granted.

2.       Who is Eli?

a.       His name means “Ascent.”

b.       I Samuel 1:3,9 clarifies that Eli is the high priest when the ark was at Shiloh.

c.       Compare I Chronicles 24:3 and II Samuel 8:17 – Eli is the first of the line of Ithamar, Aaron's fourth son, who held that office.

d.       I Kings 2:26,27 declares that the office remained in his family till the time of Abiathar, whom Solomon deposed, and appointed Zadok, of the family of Eleazar, in his stead,  I Kings 2:35.

3.       The important thing about these scriptures is that they give us a time and place where and when God appeared to Aaron.

4.       Does Aaron know where Moses is?

a.       It is approximately a 300 mile trip from Egypt to Mount Horeb.

b.       It would take approximately 30 days traveling 10 miles a day to reach Mount Horeb.

c.       It would take approximately 15 days traveling 20 miles a day to reach Mount Horeb, which is likely the time Aaron took.

d.       If Aaron (and the other Israelites) knew where Moses was, they made no effort to contact him during the 40 years Moses was away.

e.       It would seem logical to think the family of Moses would try to find him, but if they were restricted in their movement by the Egyptians, it is easily understood why they didn’t find him or didn’t try.

f.        One thing for sure, when God gets ready for Aaron to find Moses, he will find him.

g.       Like Saul tried to find the animals in the wilderness, but found Samuel instead, and was anointed king of Israel.

h.       I think it speaks well of the courage of Aaron is leaving home and family to travel all this way (approximately 300 miles) to see his brother, whom he hasn’t seen in 40 years.

5.       The joy Aaron had at meeting Moses.

a.       There was joy, no doubt, of seeing his brother, whom he hadn’t seen for 40 years.

b.       There would also be a greater joy of knowing his journey and future life would be in obeying the commands of God with his brother.

c.       There is always a joy and happiness in proper family life.


IV.   How Aaron was a problem to Moses.

A.     Exodus 32 - Aaron let the people build a golden calf while Moses was in the mount receiving instruction as to the building of the tabernacle

B.     Number 12:1 - Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman he had married.

C.     Numbers 15:38 - God said every person who rebelled against going immediately into Canaan would die during the 40 year wilderness journey.  Aaron is one who rebelled.

D.     The reason Aaron got in trouble was because he didn't know what to say unless Moses was there to tell him.

1.       Moses is not like God, who is Spirit, and can be in every place at once.

2.       When Moses goes to Mt. Sinai to receive instruction for building the tabernacle, he wasn't there to tell Aaron what to say, therefore, he said the wrong thing.


Verse 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.

I.   There is no doubt in my mind that God spoke to Aaron, preparing him for what Moses would tell him.

A.     As I have already mentioned in the above verse, I believe God spoke to Aaron while he was still in Egypt, directing him toward Moses, and the fact that God had chosen him to be a High Priest, representing Jesus Christ, to the nation of Israel.

B.     No doubt, the details are very sketchy to Aaron, but God will allow Moses to “fill in the blanks.”


II.   Even though God would speak directly to Aaron, Moses must still fill in the details.

A.     God speaks directly to people today through His Holy Word, and the Holy Spirit interprets the message.

B.     God still sends men to preach the gospel message, and to preach the all things of the Word of God because men still won’t understand unless God’s order is followed.

C.     Aaron is under the authority of Moses, and Moses is under the authority of God.

D.     God is still the final authority.


Verse 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.

I.   Aaron will be the spokesman for Moses.

A.     These are the things Aaron will do.

1.       He will tell the elders of Israel what Moses commission from God is.

2.       He will tell them that God intends for them to leave Egypt, following Moses into the promised land.

3.       He will present the various signs and miracles Moses will do.

4.       All  the while, Moses will stand silently by.

5.       That may seem strange to onlookers, but that is what Moses desired, and God granted.

6.       Some may believe Moses doesn’t understand the language, or have ease in speaking the language, but that is not the truth.

B.     Aaron will be a mouth to Moses.

1.       Aaron will speak to the people what God tells Moses to say.

2.       He will be a sort of interpreter, relating to the people in words they can easily understand and act upon.

C.     Moses shall be a god to Aaron.

1.       Aaron will have nothing to say until Moses gives him something to say.

2.       Aaron will stand between Moses and the people, speaking in place of Moses.

3.       Moses will stand between God and Aaron, telling him what God said to say.

4.       This explains Psalms 82:1 which states, “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.”

5.       This explains why the judges of Israel were called “gods,” they sat between God and the people, judging their deeds according to what God said.


Verse 17, And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.

I.   The rod is the means whereby Moses will perform the miracles God commanded him to perform.

A.     It is not the rod that has the power to perform miracles.

B.     It is God who uses the rod as a tool to perform miracles.

1.       If the rod were stolen, God could still do miracles.

2.       God almost always uses means to perform His works.

a.       God uses the means of preaching the gospel to reach the lost.

b.       God uses the means of his local church to teach people how to effectively serve and worship Him.  [2]



Verse 18-20

Moses returned to Midian, and having obtained leave of his father-in-law to depart from thence, he took his wife and his sons, and returned to Egypt.


Verse 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.

I.   Moses asks leave of his father in law to return to Egypt.

A.     Moses received courtesy of Jethro when he first came to the land, and he will return this favor.

1.       It is good to remember common courtesy, especially when we go on God’s business.

2.       God was courteous to Moses in not forcing him to return to Egypt, and Moses will be courteous to Jethro is seeking his permission to return to Egypt.

3.       This is especially important for Moses as he will be taking Jethro’s daughter and grand children away from him.

B.     Our call of God into his active service never allows us to disregard our civil obligations.

1.       Matthew 15:1-6 – In this passage, Christ rebukes the Pharisees because they have made laws and commandments which disregard other laws of God respecting taking care of parents.

C.     Moses evidently doesn’t tell Jethro of God’s plans.

1.       Jethro is not a Jew, therefore might not understand.

2.       It might be that Moses, being a meek man as described in Numbers 12:3, doesn’t want Jethro to think more highly of him than he ought.

a.       It is a marvelous thing to be called into the service of God.

b.       It is not something to be proud of, but to be thankful for.

c.       Moses will not “flaunt” his Christian experiences before anybody, at least not for the present.

3.       Moses explains to Jethro that he would like to return and see his family and friends.

a.       It is odd that there was no correspondence between them (at least it isn’t noted in the Bible) for the 40 years.

b.       This also confirms the fact that Aaron did not come to Moses while Moses was at the burning bush, but came later.

c.       See my notes on verse 14 “When does Aaron come to Moses?”

4.       Moses doesn’t know if they are alive or not.

a.       This again confirms that there was no contact between Moses and his brethren all these years.

b.       Moses wants to see how many are yet alive, and get acquainted with the new generation, plus to show off his wife and children.


II.   Moses receives permission.

A.     Moses didn’t have to ask, nor be granted permission from Jethro to return to Egypt.

1.       Moses was fulfilling secular obligations by asking permission from Jethro.

2.       Jethro didn’t have to grant permission, but thankfully, God had already worked on him, and he granted permission.

B.     Moses received all the necessary authority, and responsibility from God.

1.       Moses could have left the sheep with Jethro, and left, taking his wife and children with him, without telling Jethro anything at all.

2.       This would leave a “bad taste” with Jethro for God’s leadership, and God’s man.

3.       This would be a bad thing.

4.       Always leave a “good taste” if you can.

5.       It just might be that you might need to come back again, so never burn bridges you don’t want to rebuild.


Verse 19, And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.

I.   God appeared a second time to Moses while he was still in Midian, giving him confidence that his life will be safe in Egypt.

A.     It is not so that God will never send you into a place where there is danger.

B.     If we count out life dear to us, we will never serve God.


II.   All the men are dead which sought thy life.

A.     There were men who sought the life of Moses.

1.       According to this verse, there was more than one man seeking Moses.

2.       God knew it, and Moses knew it, but the men never found Moses.

3.       It is amazing to think that all the power of Egypt could have been unpleased in a world wide search for Moses, but Moses was never found of the Egyptians.

a.       When God hides, you are hid, even though you are right out in the open.

b.       John 8:59 – “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”

c.       Elijah was hid from Ahab, and could be found only when God allowed it.

B.     This was never mentioned before.

1.       It might be that Jethro knew why Moses left Egypt and brought up the question.

2.       Moses never brought up the question to God at any time.

a.       It seems to me that God answered a question for Moses that was perhaps in the back of his mind, but never mentioned.

1)      I don’t think Moses doubted his safety as long as he stayed in Midian.

2)      Exodus 2:22 – Moses named his first son Gershom for God had blessed him when he was an alien in a strange land.

3)      Exodus 18:4 – When his second son, Eliezer, was born, Moses declared he had found help from God in being delivered from his enemies.

4)      Moses might have thought about the enemies he left behind in Egypt, that were waiting for his return.

b.       God always knows exactly what we are thinking, and what it takes to comfort us, or motivate us to faithful service.


Verse 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.

I.   Moses family.

A.     Exodus 2:21 - His wife is Zipporah.

1.       As far as I can tell, Moses only had one wife.

a.       The word “Ethiopian” means “Cushite,” or a descendent of Cush, who is a son of Ham.  (Gen. 10:6)

b.       Some believe Moses married a second time to a Negro.  But there is no evidence at all in the Bible to prove this.  There is no proof that Moses married a second time, or that he married a Negro.

c.       It would be wrong for Moses to marry a Negro.  God separated the races at the Tower of Babel and He intended them to remain separated.  The mixing of the races today is against the will of God.

d.       It would be wrong for Moses to marry a second time and continue leading Israel.  Since Zipporah was unwilling to be an obedient wife, she went back to her parents home while Moses did God's will.

e.       It is not fitting for a pastor or a leader in the church to have more than one living wife.

f.        The reason the Ethiopian wife is complained about is because she has not traveled with Israel or helped her husband.  Her absence is complained about, not her presence.

g.       For a short example of the rebellion of Zipporah see Ex. 4:24-26.  The only reason she submitted to the commands of God was to save her husbands life.

h.       It was not wrong for Moses to marry the Ethiopian woman for Israel was not yet formed as a nation, and Moses was not included in the promises of God as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Moses is not in the “Christ line”, or a leader of Israel, he is a Levi.

2.       Many other leaders of Israel had more than one wife, but it seems Moses had only one, which is an honorable thing.

B.     The two sons of Moses and Zipporah. (See Exodus 2:22, Exodus 18:4, and I Chronicles 23:15.)

1.       Ex. 2:22 – Their first son is called Gershom, which means refugee. 

a.       Moses named his first son Gershom “…for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.” Ex. 2:22

b.       This name was given because Moses can make his home in Midian with the blessings of God, of which he isn’t ashamed.

2.       Their second son is named Eliezer, which means God of help.

a.       There is no record of when this son is born, but it seems the child was born when Moses was confident his enemies in Egypt would not find him.

b.       The name Eliezer means “help of God.”


II.   Returning to Egypt.

A.     He takes his family.

1.       Moses will take care of his family so he can be a faithful servant of God.

a.       One of the qualifications of a pastor is that he take care of his family, which will give him proper understanding on how to take care of one of the Lord’s churches.

b.       King David took his father and mother to the King of Moab, where they stayed the entire time he was in the hold, running from King Saul.

2.       They have never been there, so everything will be brand new to them.

3.       I imagine they were excited about the trip.

4.       It is not related whether Moses explained to them why he was returning into Egypt or not.

B.     Set them on an ass.

1.       This is insignificant to us, but not to them.

2.       The method of travel was difficult at best.

3.       The ass or donkey is not an honorable animal to us, but to the Egyptians it was.

a.       The horse is honorable to us, but in those days, the horse was an instrument of war.

b.       The mule was a royal animal, usually ridden by royalty.

c.       Zechariah 9:9, and Matthew 21:5 – The ass was ridden by a king, as Christ rode the foal of an ass into Jerusalem when He made His triumphant entry.

C.     Returned to the land of Egypt.

1.       There are some events that occur on the way which will be discussed presently.

2.       Exodus 4:24-26 – Moses is struck down because of the lack of circumcision.

3.       Exodus 4:27-28 – Aaron comes to meet Moses.

D.     Moses takes the rod of God.

1.       Jethro might wonder why Moses takes the rod with him, but there is no mention that he asked.

2.       Moses knows the rod is the symbol of the power of God, which he will use as a means of doing miracles, some of which he doesn’t know about yet.  [3]



Ex 4:21-23

Moses receives more instructions from the Lord what he should do before Pharaoh, and what he should say unto him.


Verse 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.

I.   Moses receives further instructions from God.

A.     Moses must first return to Egypt.

1.       This is some of the physical stuff that our lives seem to be cumbered with, but are necessary.

2.       God knows and understands all this, and gives His grace to do those things.


II.   Do all these wonders before Pharaoh.

A.     It is necessary to do all the wonders before the Israelites so they will believe God sent Moses to deliver them from Egypt.

1.       Just remember that signs and wonders do not make for strong Christians.

2.       If believers must continually see signs and wonders, they are not living by faith, but by sight.

B.     It is necessary to do all the wonders before Pharaoh.

1.       Moses might think once is enough, but that isn’t the case.

2.       Pharaoh needs to see the miracles, so his condemnation will be greater when he doesn’t believe.

3.       The wonders which I have put in thy hand.

a.       It is very clear that God can do more miracles, which we will soon see.

b.       God is telling Moses to make sure he does those three miracles God gave him.


III.   God will harden Pharaoh’s heart.

A.     See the file entitled, “Who hardened Pharaohs heart.doc

1.       This is interesting reading, but I don’t like the way the writer disregards the KJV in favor of the NASB.  I think his premise of trying to reconcile God’s actions with man’s responsibility is generally good, but there is no need to try to justify God, or to say that God had nothing to do with Pharaoh refusing to let Israel go.  We should believe what God said, rather than try to reconcile it.  Isaiah 55:8 states that the thoughts and ways of God are greater than our thoughts and ways.  Some things we should leave alone, not try to reconcile, and believe what God said.

2.       People try to disregard anything in Scripture that would indicate that God interfered with the will of man.

a.       They want to believe God interfered with man’s will for the good – that is to bring him to salvation and faithful service.

b.       They don’t want to believe God has the right to interfere with the will of man to cause the wickedness of that man to bring God glory and honor.

B.     Strictly speaking, God will harden Pharaoh’s heart only after Moses has done the three miracles God showed him in Horeb.

1.       The passage before us speaks of the entire scope of Moses leading Israel out of Egypt.

2.       The first time the Bible records that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart is in Exodus 7:13.

a.       Exodus 5:1,2 – the first time Pharaoh hardened his heart, the words “hard/heart” isn’t used.

1)      Even though the words “hard/heart” isn’t used, it is apparent that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.  This is why he took away the straw, and kept production the same.  Verse 17 reveals that Pharaoh thought the people were idle, thus had time to consider something besides work, and that is why he took away the straw and left production the same.

2)      It is a side thought, but also notice in Exodus 5:20-23 that the heart of the Israelites was also “hardened” against seeing and understanding the will of God.  The Israelites were told by Aaron everything God told Moses, (Exodus 4:20-31) but they only saw with their eyes the difficulty of their circumstances, and did not see that the circumstances was exactly what God said.  The Israelites were wanting relief from physical labor, (see Exodus 2:23) not to be set free so they could freely worship and serve God, or receive the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Exodus 6:9 states that when Moses repeated what God would do, Israel failed to hear because of anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.

b.       Exodus 7:13 – God hardened Pharaoh’s heart when he saw the miracles because Pharaoh had already hardened his own heart at the word of God spoken by Moses.

c.       The heart of Pharaoh in Exodus 7:13 is in the same condition as in exodus 5:1,2.

d.       Exodus 7:22 – After the first miracle (water turned into blood) Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.

e.       There are many other places in Exodus that speaks of Pharaoh heart being hard, but all them stem from the same source – Pharaoh didn’t believe the Word of God through Moses, therefore, he won’t believe anything else.

C.     There is a large dispute about whether God hardened Pharaoh's heart or whether Pharaoh hardened it himself.

1.       Some believe Pharaoh hardened his own heart  - therefore human responsibility is retained.

2.       Some believe God hardened Pharaoh's heart – therefore God’s power, glory and honor is retained.

3.       Actually, both are right!

a.       God is on His throne, and can do with his own whatever He desires.

b.       He is answerable to no man about anything He does.  He does not even owe us an explanation!

c.       On the other hand, Pharaoh is totally responsibility for his actions.

d.       Pharaoh and Pharaoh alone will suffer the consequences of unbelief.

e.       God will get all the glory and honor.

4.       According to Matthew 13:15, Jesus said the unbelieving Jews have closed their own eyes and ears, and hardened their own heart.  “For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

5.       Acts 13:46 - Paul and Barnabas preached to the unbelieving Jews, but when they blasphemed, Paul declared, “...seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”

6.       Psalms 95:8 – This psalms admonishes Israel to not harden their hearts, thus today, we who are saved, or those who are lost, should not harden their hearts because we and they will certainly face the judgment of God.  Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:”

7.       It should also be remembered that there is no scripture in the entire Bible that says that God elected anybody to hell, even though that was John Calvin's belief.

a.       There is a scripture that says that Satan has sown evil seeds (his children) in the world, Matt. 13:38.

b.       Therefore those people that are eternally lost have never belonged to the Lord.

D.     The following passages relating to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart show without a doubt that God (as well as Pharaoh himself) was actively involved in Pharaoh hardening his heart.

1.       Exodus 4:21 - God said He would harden Pharaoh’s heart – 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.”

2.       Exodus 7:3 - God said He would harden Pharaoh’s heart –  “And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.”

3.       Exodus 7:13,14 - Rod into the serpent – Pharaoh hardens his heart –  “And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. 14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.

4.       Exodus 7:22 - Water into blood – Pharaoh hardens his heart –  “And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said.”

5.       Exodus 8:15 - The frog plague stopped – Pharaoh hardens his heart –  “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.”

6.       Exodus 8:19 - Magicians could not make lice – Pharaoh hardens his heart – Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.”

7.       Exodus 8:32 - Flies are removed – Pharaoh hardens his heart –  “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.”

8.       Exodus 9:7 - No Israelite cattle dead – Pharaoh hardens his heart – And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

9.       Exodus 9:12 - Boils upon man and beast – Pharaoh hardens his heart – And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.”

10.   Exodus 9:34,35 - The rain and hail cease – Pharaoh hardens his heart –  And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.”

11.   Exodus 10:1 - God has hardened Pharaoh’s heart and the heart of his servants – And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him:”

12.   Exodus 10:20 - The locust leave – God hardens Pharaoh’s heart – But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.

13.   Exodus 10:27 - Pharaoh would allow Israel to leave, but not their cattle. This offer was refused.  Pharaoh hardens his heart – But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.”

14.   Exodus 11:10 - The threat of the death of the firstborn – Pharaoh hardens his heart – “And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.”

15.   Exodus 14:4 - God will harden Pharaoh’s heart when Israel leaves Egypt – And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.”

16.   Exodus 14:8 - Israel leaves Egypt – Pharaoh hardens his heart – And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.”

17.   Exodus 14:17 - God will harden the heart of all the Egyptians – And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”

E.      The following passages show that God was also involved in hardening the hearts of other national leaders and individuals so He could get glory and honor from them.  Never think that Pharaoh is unique with God hardening his heart.  Never think that God has nothing to do with the hardening of hearts today.  He will work out His eternal plan.

1.       Deut. 2:30 - But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as appeareth this day.

2.       Joshua 11:20 – A recapitulation of how Israel captured the promised land is given here.  For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.

3.       I Sam. 6:6 – Advice to the Philistines from their priests and diviners on how to return the Ark of God to Israel.  Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?

4.       II Kings 17:14 – Just before Israel (the northern 10 tribes) went into Assyrian captivity, the prophets of God preached to them to repent, but they hardened their hearts instead.  Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God.

5.       II Chron. 36:13 – Just before Judah went into Babylonian captivity, Jeremiah preached to Zedekiah about repenting and submitting to the judgment of God, but he hardened his heart.  And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel.

6.       Neh. 9:16 – The history of Israel is rehearsed in the days of Nehemiah, revealing that Israel’s leaders have continually hardened their hearts (necks) against God.  But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments

7.       Jer. 19:15 – Jeremiah preaches to Judah that God will bring judgment upon them because they have hardened their necks (hearts) against God.  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words.

8.       Dan. 5:20 – Daniel explains to Belshazzar how Nebuchadnezzar’s heart was hardened and what God did to him.  God will do the same thing to Belshazzar because he has hardened his heart against God.  But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:


Verse 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.

I.   I don’t believe God is saying Israel is His firstborn in the literal sense.

A.     God is establishing to Pharaoh what the relationship between Israel and God is.

1.       Pharaoh would surely understand that he wouldn’t want his son in captivity by an enemy.

2.       Pharaoh would do everything he could do to obtain the release of his firstborn son – the heir to the throne, and God will do all He can do to obtain the release of His first born son.

B.     There is a sense in which the nation of Israel has been adopted by God.

1.       Romans 9:14,15 – Israel has been adopted by God.

2.       Jeremiah 31:9 – “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.”

3.       Hosea 11:1 – “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”

4.       Jesus Christ is the literal firstborn (only begotten) son of God.


II.   God will slay the firstborn son of Pharaoh.

A.     This is not an empty threat, but will surely come to pass.

1.       This passage is speaking of the overall viewpoint which God will surely do.

2.       God tells lost sinners they will spend eternity in hell, but that is future, and will surely come to pass.

3.       God tells saved sinners he will judge their every thought, word and action, but that is future, and will surely come to pass.

4.       Our being judged of God is as sure as the firstborn of Pharaoh being killed by God.

B.     Pharaoh is going to be given a choice.

1.       Some don’t like the idea of a choice, but this is what God is doing.

2.       God already knows what choice Pharaoh will take, but he is still given this choice.

3.       God already knows all choices, but leaves it all up to us.

4.       I firmly believe that God would not have killed Pharaoh’s first born son if Pharaoh had listened to the Word of God.   [4]



Ex 4:24-26

The account of what befell Moses by the way, because of the circumcision of his son.


Verse 24, And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.

I.   It must be remembered that in these days, the Lord often appeared to His people as a person.

A.     God had already appeared to Moses, speaking to him in person.

1.       Exodus 3:4 – God spoke to Moses from the burning bush. This conversation continues to Exodus 4:17.

2.       Exodus 4:21 – God spoke to Moses as he was traveling toward Egypt.

B.     God speaks to other Old Testament saints.

1.       Joshua 1:1 – God spoke to Joshua, giving him the office vacated by Moses.

2.       Job chapter 38-41 – God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind.

C.     God stopped speaking to people as individuals, and began to speak only to the prophets, who relayed God’s message to the people.

1.       Judges 6:8 – God sent a prophet to Israel, who spoke to them concerning their rebellion.

2.       Judges 6:11 – God sent an angel to speak to Gideon who was to lead Israel against the Midianites.

D.     Today God’s Word (The Holy Bible) is complete, and God doesn’t speak audibly to us, but speaks to us through His Bible.


II.   It may seem strange that God would do everything He has done to get Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt, then meet him on the trip to Egypt, and attempt to kill him.

A.     Circumcision is very important, more important than we might see at the first.

1.       Circumcision is a sign that the person believes the promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

2.       Uncircumcision is a sign the person is a heathen.

B.     Circumcision is not baptism, and baptism is not circumcision, but baptism is important today.

1.       Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change of heart, motive, and purpose of life.

2.       Baptism is required for church membership, just as circumcision is required for an Israelite believer and national leader.

C.     One thing God is doing is teaching Moses the importance of doing those things that are hard, things he would rather not do.

D.     The sequence of events discovered by “reading between the lines.”

1.       Moses was circumcised as a child in his parents home.  (Proof of this is found in Exodus 2:6 where Pharaoh’s daughter opened the ark of bulrushes Moses was in.  I assume she saw the boy was circumcised and knew he was one of the Hebrews children.)

2.       It seems Moses and Zipporah has two boys at this point.

3.       It seems Moses had circumcised the first born son, but not the second born son.

4.       I get this from Exodus 4:25 where Zipporah circumcised a son, not sons.

5.       It is supposed Moses circumcised his oldest son, but Zipporah raised such a stink that Moses did not circumcise his youngest son.

6.       It seems Moses and Zipporah had talked about circumcision, but the conversation didn’t go very far.

7.       Moses concluded he would not circumcise Eliezer because Zipporah objected so strenuously. 

8.       Moses is the head of his home, but Zipporah is such a terror that God forces her to make the decision, to face the fact that Israel as a nation is not like all the other nations of the world, and certainly not like the nation she comes from.

9.       This also show that the inhabitants of Midian, which were the descendants of the concubines of Abraham, did not circumcise, or else that Zipporah was strongly opposed to circumcision.

E.      “Sought to kill him.”

1.       Who is “him?”

a.       “Him” seems to be Moses as a careful reading of Exodus 4:24,25 reveals.

1)      Verse 24 – The Lord met “him” and sought to kill “him”.

2)      Verse 25 – Zipporah circumcised her son (supposedly the younger) and cast the foreskin at “his” feet, which seems to be Moses.

3)      Verse 26 – So he (the Lord) let “him” (Moses) go, or live.

b.       According to Genesis 17:14, “And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.”

1)      The passage above is God speaking to Abraham, giving him instructions as to circumcision.

2)      God meant what He said, and would cut off (kill) any soul what refused to be circumcised.

c.       This means that God would cut off (kill) Eliezer because he wasn’t circumcised, which meant Eliezer had broke the covenant.

1)      I don’t know how old Eliezer is, but I know that Moses has been in Midian for 40 years, that he married shortly after settling in the land, and that the children were born sometime after Moses and Zipporah married.

2)      It would seem that Eliezer is probably, at least, 20 years old, and likely he is nearly 35 years old.  (Both children could be much younger as seen by them returning to Midian with their mother.)

3)      If the Lord really wanted to kill the child, He would have no difficulty in doing so.

d.       I believe God will kill Moses, not Eliezer because Moses is the head of the home, and controls whether or not Eliezer is circumcised.

2.       What God is doing is giving Moses and Zipporah a chance (opportunity) to get things right.

a.       I know there are people who believe mankind doesn’t have a choice.

b.       The Bible declares many times that mankind has a choice about whether they serve God or not.

3.       Moses does absolutely nothing to stop God from killing him.

4.       Moses leaves it up to Zipporah, not forcing her to circumcise the youngest child, if she had rather have the child uncircumcised and her husband dead.


Verse 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.

I.   There is no conversation and no scripture which states Moses and Zipporah talked about why God was trying to kill Eliezer.

A.     Zipporah and Moses both knew why.

B.     The youngest son was not circumcised.

1.       It is not just the physical act of uncircumcision that is at stake, but obedience to a command of God.

2.       Outward signs of obedience come because of inward obedience.


II.   There are at least four types of faithful wives.

A.     The wife that is very faithful to you, and very enthusiastic about what God has called her husband to do.

B.     The wife that is very faithful to you, but not so openly enthusiastic about what God has called her husband to do.

1.       She will appear enthusiastic to those around her, but will not help her husband in his work.

2.       She believes that just being there is what she ought to be.

3.       Her husband feels the wife does not care for his work because she won't be a help to him in it.

C.     The wife that is very faithful to you, but not very enthusiastic about what God has called her husband to do.

1.       She will faithfully follow her husband, but won't be a very good help to him, because she has her own ideas about what she wants out of life.

2.       She has not totally given herself to her husband.

D.     The wife that is very faithful to you, but will not follow her husband at all in the things God has called him to do.

E.      Then there is Zipporah!


III.   Zipporah took a sharp stone.

A.     I would imagine she had to sharpen it at least a little so it would cut the flesh quickly.

B.     She didn’t use a knife as God instructed Joshua in Joshua chapter 5.


IV.   Zipporah cast the foreskin at the feet of ...

A.     I assume she cast the foreskin at Moses feet, and not at the feet of Eliezer or God.

B.     Casting the foreskin at Moses feet is a symbol of her defiance of God’s command, yet being forced to obey.


Verse 26, So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband [thou art], because of the circumcision.

I.   He let him go.

A.     The “He” is God, the “him” is probably Moses.  It could have been that God will kill Moses because, as the head of his family, he hasn’t circumcised his youngest child, but the scriptures seem to indicate that the male that is not circumcised will be cut off, not the father of the uncircumcised one. (Gen. 17:14)

1.       God is no longer trying to kill Moses.

2.       Whether this is a sickness, or whatever it is, we are not told.

3.       Whatever it is, Moses and Zipporah know Moses will not die.

B.     Zipporah states that Moses is a bloody husband because of the circumcision.

1.       Zipporah didn’t say that God was a bloody God.

2.       That was probably on her mind, but she might have been afraid to say that to God, so she said it to Moses instead.

C.     The lesson.

1.       What God demands will be done.

2.       We don’t have to agree, or even like it after it’s all over, but what God demands will be done.

3.       It is the same way today.

4.       Satan may think it is going his way, but that is only the outward signs.


II.   Repercussions from this episode.

A.     It is likely Zipporah went back to her father’s house, taking her two sons, and remained there until God had delivered Israel out of Egypt.

1.       Exodus 18:2 states, “…after he had sent her back.”

a.       Apparently, Moses sends Zipporah and his two sons back to Jethro’s house because she has caused so much trouble.  (There is no mention of Zipporah or the two sons being in Egypt.)

b.       It seems likely to me that Moses two sons also went back with Zipporah.

c.       According to Exodus 18:1-5, Jethro, Zipporah, and the two sons of Moses (Gershom and Eliezer) returned to Moses the first time, approximately 30-90 days after Israel came out of Egypt.

d.       According to Exodus 18:27 – Jethro returns alone to Midian.

e.       Some might complain that Moses wasn’t a very good spiritual leader because he didn’t have his wife under control.

f.        Remember that Moses is a political leader, not a spiritual leader.

g.       Her return to Moses probably arouses much complaining on her part, so Aaron and Miriam complain to God about her.  See Numbers 12:1.  ..\NUMBERS\12V01-16.DOC

2.       It would seem that Jethro came to visit Israel the second time approximately one year later.  It is the time of the second Passover.  The first visit is recorded in Exodus 18.

a.       According to Numbers 9:1 Moses prepares the people to take the Passover for the second time.

b.       According to Numbers 10:29 Jethro, in this passage called Raguel, is present with Israel.  Jethro’s son, Hobab, is also present.  So we understand there are more family members visiting than just Jethro.

c.       The above two points reveal that Jethro brought Zipporah, Gershom, and Eliezer to Moses before Israel had been out of Egypt 90 days, and returned for another visit shortly after Israel had been out of Egypt for one year.

B.     I have heard that Moses refused to practice circumcise in Israel because of all the problems caused by Zipporah.

1.       This doesn’t seem to be the case.

2.       I believe Moses practiced circumcision until the time Israel rebelled against going into the promised land in Numbers 13.  The cause of Israel not practicing circumcision is not because of Zipporah, but because of their own stubbornness and rebellion against God.  See Joshua 5:1-7.

3.       Exodus 12:43-45 – God gives Moses instructions for preparing to take the Passover.  This passage states that circumcision was a requirement for taking the Passover.

4.       Exodus 18:1-6 – Zipporah returns to Israel with her two sons.

5.       Numbers 9:1-5 – Moses instructs Israel to prepare to take the Passover for the second time.  In verse 3, God instructs Moses to take the Passover “…according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof.”  In verse 5, the Bible records that Israel kept the Passover “…according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.”

C.     Joshua 5:1-7 – This passage records the reason the males of Israel weren’t circumcised in the wilderness.

1.       Those that died in the wilderness were circumcised, but they didn’t really believe the promises of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob concerning the promised land.

2.       God doesn’t want circumcision to be a “ritual” confined to the Jews.

3.       He wants all Israel to understand that circumcision is believing the promises of God, not a physical mark in the flesh.

4.       When the new generation of Joshua are circumcised, and the older ones who are already circumcised are circumcised again, they are renewing their faith in the promises of God. 

5.       They are putting aside their parents unbelief, and looking ahead to what God will do for them.

6.       This is always a good thing to do.

D.     Moses preaches circumcision to Israel, even though they are in rebellion.

1.       Exodus 12:44-48 – Before Israel left Egypt, God gave Moses instructions concerning the ordinance of the Passover.

a.       I assume the mixed multitude that left Egypt with the Israelites took the Passover with Israel, or else they didn’t take the Passover, lost their firstborn sons, then left with Israel.

b.       If any of the mixed multitude or a stranger, or a servant would take the Passover, they had to be circumcised first, and this would have to take place in the land of Egypt.

2.       Leviticus 12 – Moses receives instructions from God concerning the offering and circumcision of a son.

a.       I assume this command is carried out because of the two times Israel took the Passover after they left Egypt, before they wandered in the wilderness 40 years.

b.       Another reason it seems Israel circumcised some new born sons is that in Joshua 5:2 God commands Israel to circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.

3.       Deut. 10:12-22 – (verse 16) – Israel is circumcise their hearts, not just their bodies. This is the real meaning of circumcision, as Moses knows full well.

4.       Deut. 30:6 – Moses explains to Israel (this is just before his death, therefore all the rebellious generation that came out of Egypt are dead) that God will circumcise their hearts and the hearts of their seed, to love the Lord God.  [5]



Ex 4:27-31

The chapter is closed with an account of the meeting of Moses and Aaron, and of their gathering the elders of Israel together, to whom the commission of Moses was opened, and signs done before them, to which they gave credit, and expressed their joy and thankfulness.


Verse 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.

I.   God appeared to Aaron in a dream or a vision.

A.     I Samuel 2:27 – The man of God came to Eli, expressing the truth that God had appeared to the house of Eli’s father (which would be Aaron) while they were in Egypt in the house of Pharaoh.

B.     Aaron went to the mount of God.

1.       The mount of God is Mount Sinai in the wilderness of Sinai.

2.       Therefore Aaron traveled all the way to the home of Moses.

3.       It is likely Aaron was present when God struck Moses down on the way to Egypt.

C.     They kissed.

1.       This is the normal greeting for the day.

2.       The kiss expressed not only brotherly love, but also a relief that God was going to use Moses as the leader to bring Israel out of Egypt.


Verse 28, And Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him.

I.   Aaron did not know until he was told.

A.     God had appeared to Aaron in Egypt, instructing him to go to Moses, but didn’t tell him anything else.

1.       This shows us again that God could have used Moses without Aaron.

2.       The only reason Aaron is in the picture is because of the stubbornness of Moses.

B.     I would suppose Moses would have to tell Aaron why God wanted him along.

1.       This might have been discouraging to Aaron, but there is no mention of this.

2.       I think it would have revealed to Moses the extent of his rebellion against God when he had to tell Aaron all things.

C.     Moses also told Aaron all the signs the Lord had shown him.

1.       I do not know if Moses showed the signs or not.

2.       The Bible is silent on this, but I know Moses told Aaron about the signs.


Verse 29, And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel:

I.   Moses and Aaron travel on to Egypt, after that Zipporah and Moses two sons are gone back to Midian, Ex. 18:2.

A.     There is nothing said of their journey, the length of time it took, or anything that happened along the way.

B.     When they arrive in Egypt, the first thing they do is gather together the elders of the Israelites.

1.       I would imagine news of Moses arrival in Egypt would be big news indeed.

2.       I can imagine family members gathering around to see him, and hear that he is the promised deliverer.

C.     Gathering the elders together.

1.       Exodus 3:16 – Gathering the elders together has been commanded by God.

2.       It would be an easy task to gather the elders together, for they would be curious to know what is going on.


II.   Who are the elders?

A.     They are men in Israel who hold authority, they are leaders.

B.     Deut.  16:18 – “Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment.”

C.     This verse shows there are many judges and officers of Israel, who are also called elders.


III.   How many elders are there?

A.     Exodus 24:1 – God commands Aaron, Nadab and Abihu and 70 of the elders of Israel to come to the LORD.

B.     Numbers 11:16 – “Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.”

1.       These verses explain there could easily be more than 70 elders.

2.       I would not think it would be unusual to have more than 70 men representing some 2 or 3 million people.


Verse 30, And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.

I.   Aaron spoke all the words of God.

A.     This must have been strange for Moses.

1.       Aaron would not say anything God had not revealed to Moses.

2.       I can just see Aaron looking at Moses, and Moses giving him the “nod” to continue.

B.     From everything I can see, Aaron performed the miracles with Moses rod, and did the speaking, but somehow, everyone knew Moses was the one God called to deliver Israel.

1.       The important thing to understand is not whether Aaron or Moses performed the miracles.

2.       The important thing is not to figure out whether the rod belonged to Aaron or Moses.

3.       It is God that gives the power to perform miracles.

4.       It just may have been that God worked all the circumstances to show that He was the one in control, not Aaron or Moses.


II.   Aaron performed the miracles God showed Moses.

A.     Exodus 4:17 – “And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs.

1.       From this scripture, I conclude that Moses rod is the rod that is used by Aaron and Moses.

2.       But the power the performed the miracles is not in the rod, but in the God of the rod.

B.     Examples of miracles performed by Aaron and Moses.  (Notice how the two are mingled together.  This is because of the “joint leadership of both Aaron and Moses.)

1.       Exodus 4:17 – God explains to Moses that Aaron will be the spokesman, and Moses will do the miracles.

2.       Exodus 7:8-10 – Both Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and “…they did so as the LORD had commanded, and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh…”

3.       Exodus 7:19-20 – Both Moses and Aaron obeyed the Lord, and “…he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river…”

4.       Exodus 8:5 – “And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.

a.       Notice how God spoke to Aaron, who gave commandment to Aaron.

b.       This is an excellent of cooperation, and God is in control.

c.       Some might complain that Aaron didn’t stretch out the rod, but the following passage makes it clear he did.

5.       Exodus 8:16,17 – “And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. 17  And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.”

a.       Here is another example of God instructing Moses, who instructed Aaron.

6.       Exodus 9:23 – “And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail…”

7.       Exodus 10:13 – “And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt … locusts.”

C.     A person would almost think there were two rods, if you consider Number 16:6-10, knowing that Aaron had a rod.

1.       The rod in the above passage is not the same as the rod of Moses, but a rod that represents the tribe of Levi, which Aaron is a member of.


Verse 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.

I.   The people believed, but they didn’t trust.

A.     They believed what they saw, not by faith.

1.       When Pharaoh gave them trouble, they saw that like they saw the miracles, and stopped believing.

2.       The people of Israel only saw the circumstances, not the long term picture.

B.     The people worshipped.

1.       Worship involves two things: spirit and truth.

2.       Israel worshipped with both spirit and truth.

3.       When what they believed failed in Exodus 5, they no longer worshipped in truth.  [6]

[1] Preached to here 1/10/01 IBC Wednesday Evening

[2] Preached to here 1/17/01 IBC Wednesday Evening

[3] Preached to here 1/24/01 IBC Wednesday Evening

[4] Preached to here 2/7/01 IBC Wednesday Evening

[5] Preached to here 2/14/01 IBC Wednesday Evening

[6] Preached to here 2/21/01 IBC Wednesday Evening