Shemot (Exodus): Shemot > Ch 4

G-d gives Moses signs so the children of Israel would believe him

  • Moses: Behold they will not believe me, and they will not heed my voice, but they will say, 'The Lord has not appeared to you.'
  • G-d: What is this in your hand?
  • Moses: A staff
  • G-d: Cast it to the ground
  • Moses cast it to the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses fled from before it
  • G-d: Stretch forth your hand and take hold of its tail
  • Moses stretched forth his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand
  • G-d: In order that they believe that the Lord, the G-d of their forefathers, has appeared to you, the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob
  • G-d: Now put your hand into your bosom
  • Moses put his hand into his bosom, and he took it out, and behold, his hand was leprous like snow
  • G-d: Put your hand back into your bosom
  • Moses put his hand back into his bosom, and when he took it out, it had become again like the rest of his flesh
  • G-d: And it will come to pass, that if they do not believe you, and they do not heed the voice of the first sign, they will believe the voice of the last sign. And it will come to pass, if they do not believe either of these two signs, and they do not heed your voice, you shall take of the water of the Nile and spill it upon the dry land, and the water that you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry land.
  • Moses: I beseech You, O Lord. I am not a man of words, neither from yesterday nor from the day before yesterday, nor from the time You have spoken to Your servant, for I am heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue.
  • G-d: Who gave man a mouth, or who makes one dumb or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? So now, go! I will be with your mouth, and I will instruct you what you shall speak.
  • Moses: I beseech You, O Lord, send now [Your message] with whom You would send. And the Lord's wrath was kindled against Moses
  • G-d: Is there not Aaron your brother, the Levite? I know that he will surely speak, and behold, he is coming forth toward you, and when he sees you, he will rejoice in his heart. You shall speak to him, and you shall put the words into his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will instruct you [both] what you shall do. And he will speak for you to the people, and it will be that he will be your speaker, and you will be his leader. And you shall take this staff in your hand, with which you shall perform the signs.

G-d decides to put Moses to death, but Zipporah saves him

  • Moses was on the way, in an inn, that the Lord met him and sought to put him to death. So Zipporah took a sharp stone and severed her son's foreskin and cast it to his feet, and she said, "For you are a bridegroom of blood to me." So He released him. Then she said, "A bridegroom of blood concerning the circumcision."

Moses tells Aaron of the miracles. Aaron tells the children of Israel, and they believe

  • G-d told Aaron: "Go toward Moses, to the desert"
  • Aaron met Moses on the mount of G-d. Moses told Aaron about everything that happened.
  • Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and he performed the signs before the eyes of the people. And the people believed, and they heard that the Lord had remembered them, and they kneeled and prostrated themselves.

Rashi Commentary

  • Moses was on the way, in an inn and the Lord sought to put him to death because he had neglected to circumcise his son Eliezer. Because he neglected it, he was [to be] punished with death. It was taught in a Braitha: Rabbi Jose said: G-d forbid! Moses did not neglect it, but he reasoned: Shall I circumcise [him] and go forth on the road? It will be dangerous for the child for three days. Shall I circumcise [him] and wait three days? The Holy One, blessed be He, commanded me, “Go, return to Egypt.” [Moses hurried to Egypt intending to circumcise Eliezer upon his return.] Why [then] was he to be punished with death? Because first he busied himself with [the details of] his lodging. [This appears] in tractate Nedarim (31b).