4 1 Moses objected, "They won't trust me. They won't listen to a word I say. They're going to say, 'God? Appear to him? Hardly!'" 2 So God said, "What's that in your hand?" "A staff." 3 "Throw it on the ground." He threw it. It became a snake; Moses jumped back - fast! 4 God said to Moses, "Reach out and grab it by the tail." He reached out and grabbed it - and he was holding his staff again. 5 "That's so they will trust that God appeared to you, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." 6 God then said, "Put your hand inside your shirt." He slipped his hand under his shirt, then took it out. His hand had turned leprous, like snow. 7 He said, "Put your hand back under your shirt." He did it, then took it back out - as healthy as before. 8 "So if they don't trust you and aren't convinced by the first sign, the second sign should do it. 9 But if it doesn't, if even after these two signs they don't trust you and listen to your message, take some water out of the Nile and pour it out on the dry land; the Nile water that you pour out will turn to blood when it hits the ground."
10 Moses raised another objection to God: "Master, please, I don't talk well. I've never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer." 11 God said, "And who do you think made the human mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn't it I, God? 12 So, get going. I'll be right there with you - with your mouth! I'll be right there to teach you what to say." 13 He said, "Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!" 14 God got angry with Moses: "Don't you have a brother, Aaron the Levite? He's good with words, I know he is. He speaks very well. In fact, at this very moment he's on his way to meet you. When he sees you he's going to be glad. 15 You'll speak to him and tell him what to say. I'll be right there with you as you speak and with him as he speaks, teaching you step by step. 16 He will speak to the people for you. He'll act as your mouth, but you'll decide what comes out of it. 17 Now take this staff in your hand; you'll use it to do the signs."
Moses Returns to Egypt
18 Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said, "I need to return to my relatives who are in Egypt. I want to see if they're still alive." Jethro said, "Go. And peace be with you." 19 God said to Moses in Midian: "Go. Return to Egypt. All the men who wanted to kill you are dead." 20 So Moses took his wife and sons and put them on a donkey for the return trip to Egypt. He had a firm grip on the staff of God. 21 God said to Moses, "When you get back to Egypt, be prepared: All the wonders that I will do through you, you'll do before Pharaoh. But I will make him stubborn so that he will refuse to let the people go. 22 Then you are to tell Pharaoh, 'God's Message: Israel is my son, my firstborn! 23 I told you, "Free my son so that he can serve me." But you refused to free him. So now I'm going to kill your son, your firstborn.'"
24 On the journey back, as they camped for the night, God met Moses and would have killed him but 25 Zipporah took a flint knife and cut off her son's foreskin, and touched Moses' member with it. She said, "Oh! You're a bridegroom of blood to me!" 26 Then God let him go. She used the phrase "bridegroom of blood" because of the circumcision. 27 God spoke to Aaron, "Go and meet Moses in the wilderness." He went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron the message that God had sent him to speak and the wonders he had commanded him to do. 29 So Moses and Aaron proceeded to round up all the leaders of Israel. 30 Aaron told them everything that God had told Moses and demonstrated the wonders before the people. 31 And the people trusted and listened believingly that God was concerned with what was going on with the Israelites and knew all about their affliction. They bowed low and they worshiped.
Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh
5 1 After that Moses and Aaron approached Pharaoh. They said, "God, the God of Israel, says, 'Free my people so that they can hold a festival for me in the wilderness.'" 2 Pharaoh said, "And who is God that I should listen to him and send Israel off? I know nothing of this so-called 'God' and I'm certainly not going to send Israel off."
3 They said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness so we can worship our God lest he strike us with either disease or death." 4 But the king of Egypt said, "Why on earth, Moses and Aaron, would you suggest the people be given a holiday? Back to work!" 5 Pharaoh went on, "Look, I've got all these people bumming around, and now you want to reward them with time off?" 6 Pharaoh took immediate action. He sent down orders to the slave-drivers and their underlings: 7 "Don't provide straw for the people for making bricks as you have been doing. Make them get their own straw. 8 And make them produce the same number of bricks - no reduction in their daily quotas! They're getting lazy. They're going around saying, 'Give us time off so we can worship our God.' 9 Crack down on them. That'll cure them of their whining, their god-fantasies."
10 The slave-drivers and their underlings went out to the people with their new instructions. "Pharaoh's orders: No more straw provided. 11 Get your own straw wherever you can find it. And not one brick less in your daily work quota!" 12 The people scattered all over Egypt scrabbling for straw. 13 The slave-drivers were merciless, saying, "Complete your daily quota of bricks - the same number as when you were given straw." 14 The Israelite foremen whom the slave-drivers had appointed were beaten and badgered. "Why didn't you finish your quota of bricks yesterday or the day before - and now again today!"
15 The Israelite foremen came to Pharaoh and cried out for relief: "Why are you treating your servants like this? 16 Nobody gives us any straw and they tell us, 'Make bricks!' Look at us - we're being beaten. And it's not our fault." 17 But Pharaoh said, "Lazy! That's what you are! Lazy! That's why you whine, 'Let us go so we can worship God.' 18 Well then, go - go back to work. Nobody's going to give you straw, and at the end of the day you better bring in your full quota of bricks." 19 The Israelite foremen saw that they were in a bad way, having to go back and tell their workers, "Not one brick short in your daily quota." 20 As they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them. 21 The foremen said to them, "May God see what you've done and judge you - you've made us stink before Pharaoh and his servants! You've put a weapon in his hand that's going to kill us!"
The LORD's Charge to Moses and Aaron
22 Moses went back to God and said, "My Master, why are you treating this people so badly? And why did you ever send me? 23 From the moment I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, things have only gotten worse for this people. And rescue? Does this look like rescue to you?"
6 1 God said to Moses, "Now you'll see what I'll do to Pharaoh: With a strong hand he'll send them out free; with a strong hand he'll drive them out of his land." 2 God continued speaking to Moses, reassuring him, "I am God. 3 I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as The Strong God, but by my name God (I-Am-Present) I was not known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the country in which they lived as sojourners. 5 But now I've heard the groanings of the Israelites whom the Egyptians continue to enslave and I've remembered my covenant. 6 Therefore tell the Israelites: 7 I'll take you as my own people and I'll be God to you. You'll know that I am God, your God who brings you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. 8 I'll bring you into the land that I promised to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and give it to you as your own country. I AM God." 9 But when Moses delivered this message to the Israelites, they didn't even hear him - they were that beaten down in spirit by the harsh slave conditions.
10 Then God said to Moses, 11 "Go and speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt so that he will release the Israelites from his land." 12 Moses answered God, "Look - the Israelites won't even listen to me. How do you expect Pharaoh to? And besides, I stutter." 13 But God again laid out the facts to Moses and Aaron regarding the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he again commanded them to lead the Israelites out of the land of Egypt. The Family Tree of Moses and Aaron
14 These are the heads of the tribes: The sons of Reuben, Israel's firstborn: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi - these are the families of Reuben. 15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Saul, the son of a Canaanite woman - these are the families of Simeon. 16 These are the names of the sons of Levi in the order of their birth: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Levi lived 137 years. 17 The sons of Gershon by family: Libni and Shimei. 18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Kohath lived to be 133. 19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the sons of Levi in the order of their birth. 20 Amram married his aunt Jochebed and she had Aaron and Moses. Amram lived to be 137. 21 The sons of Izhar: Korah, Nepheg, and Zicri. 22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23 Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she had Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 24 The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. These are the families of the Korahites. 25 Aaron's son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel and she had Phinehas. These are the heads of the Levite families, family by family. 26 This is the Aaron and Moses whom God ordered: "Bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt clan by clan." 27 These are the men, Moses and Aaron, who told Pharaoh king of Egypt to release the Israelites from Egypt. "I'll Make You As a God to Pharaoh" 28 And that's how things stood when God next spoke to Moses in Egypt. 29 God addressed Moses, saying, "I am God. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I say to you." 30 And Moses answered, "Look at me. I stutter. Why would Pharaoh listen to me?"