Moses Is Given Miraculous Signs
4 But Moses responded, “What if they do not believe me and do not listen to my voice, but instead they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’?”
2 So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
He said, “A staff.”
3 He said, “Throw it on the ground.”
Moses threw it on the ground, and it became a snake, so he ran away from it.
4 The Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and take it by the tail.”
He stretched out his hand and took hold of it, and it became a staff in his hand.
5 The Lord said, “This sign is being given to you so that the Israelites will believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
6 The Lord also said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, his hand was leprous,[a] as white as snow.
7 Then the Lord said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand inside his cloak again, and when he took it out of his cloak, it was restored like the rest of his flesh.
8 The Lord said, “If they do not believe you or do not respond to the first sign, they might believe because of the second sign. 9 If they do not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you are to take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry land.”
10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, either in the past or more recently or even since you started speaking to your servant, for my mouth and tongue are slow and clumsy.”[b]
11 So the Lord said to him, “Who made a mouth for people? Or who makes someone mute or deaf, able to see or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go, and I will be with your mouth, and I will teach you what you will speak.”
13 But he said, “Please, Lord, send someone else.”
14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses, and the Lord said, “What about Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Look, he is already coming out to meet you. He will be very glad to see you. 15 You will speak to him and put the words into his mouth. I will be with your mouth and with his, and I will teach you what you are to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you so that it will be as if he were your mouth, and you were God to him. 17 You will also take this staff in your hand, the one with which you will perform the signs.”
Moses Returns to Egypt
18 Then Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Let me go and return to my own people, who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive.”
Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”
19 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go, return to Egypt, for everyone who wanted to kill you is dead.”
20 So Moses took his wife and his sons, placed them on a donkey, and set out to return to the land of Egypt. Moses took the staff of God in his hand.
21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, make sure that you perform in the presence of Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put into your hand. However, I will make his heart hard,[c] and he will not let the people go. 22 You will then say to Pharaoh, ‘The Lord says: Israel is my son, my firstborn, 23 and I have said to you, “Let my son go to serve me,” but you have refused to let him go. Watch out. I will kill your son, your firstborn.’”
24 At a lodging place along the way, the Lord confronted him and sought to kill him.[d] 25 Then Zipporah took a flint blade, cut off her son’s foreskin, and cast it at his feet. Then she said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me.”
26 So the Lord left him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)
Reunion of Moses and Aaron
27 The Lord had said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.”
So he went, met Moses at the mountain of God, and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron all the words that the Lord had sent him to speak and all the signs he had commanded him to perform. 29 Moses and Aaron then went and gathered together every elder of the people of Israel. 30 Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses and performed the signs in the sight of the people. 31 The people believed. When they heard that the Lord had paid attention to the Israelites and that he had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshipped.
Bricks Without Straw
5 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says. Let my people go so that they may hold a festival for me in the wilderness.”
2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should listen to his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and I certainly will not let Israel go.”
3 They said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go on a three-day journey into the wilderness, and let us sacrifice to the Lord, our God, so that he does not strike us with plague or sword.”
4 But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their work? Get back to your forced labor!” 5 Pharaoh also said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from doing their forced labor.”
6 That same day Pharaoh commanded the people’s taskmasters and overseers, 7 “Do not give the people straw for making bricks anymore. Let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as they made before. Do not reduce it. You see, they are lazy. That is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder for the people so that they do their work and do not pay attention to lying words.”
10 So the people’s taskmasters and overseers went out and told the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you straw. 11 Go, get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it. But there will be no reduction at all in your work load.’” 12 So the people scattered all over the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The taskmasters kept insisting, “Fulfill your daily quota just as you did when straw was provided!” 14 The overseers, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had placed over the Israelites, were beaten. The taskmasters demanded, “Why have you not fulfilled your quota yesterday and today, as you did previously?”
15 Then the Israelite overseers came and cried out to Pharaoh, “Why are you doing this to your servants? 16 No straw is given to your servants, yet they tell us, ‘Make bricks!’ Look, your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”
17 But he said, “Lazy! You are lazy! That is why you are saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now go! Get to work! Straw will not be provided to you, but you will deliver the same quota of bricks!”
19 The Israelite overseers realized that they were in trouble when Pharaoh said, “You must not reduce anything from your daily number of bricks!”
20 When they left Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting to meet them. 21 They said to Moses and Aaron, “May the Lord look at you and judge you, because you have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword into their hand to kill us.”
- Exodus 4:6 The Hebrew word for leprous was used for various skin diseases.
- Exodus 4:10 Literally I am heavy of mouth and tongue
- Exodus 4:21 Exodus uses three words for hardening or hardness of heart. The most common one chazaq is translated harden. The other two, kabad and qashah, are translated unyielding and stubborn. The verbs seem interchangeable.
- Exodus 4:24 Interpreters disagree whether it was Moses or one of his sons that God was about to kill. The whole account is cryptic.
Who Is the Greatest?
18 At that time the disciples approached Jesus and asked, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 Jesus called a little child, had him stand in the middle of them, 3 and said, “Amen I tell you: Unless you are turned and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives a little child like this one in my name receives me.
6 “But, if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of temptations to sin. Temptations must come, but woe to that person through whom the temptation comes!
8 “If your hand or your foot causes you to sin,[b] cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than to be thrown into the eternal fire with two hands or two feet. 9 If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to be thrown into hell fire with two eyes. 10 See to it that you do not look down on one of these little ones, because I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man came to save what was lost.[c]
The Lost Sheep
12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go looking for the one that wandered away? 13 If he finds it—Amen I tell you—he rejoices more over that one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not wander away. 14 In the same way, your Father in heaven does not want even one of these little ones to perish.
Show Your Brother His Sin
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his sin just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have regained your brother. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every matter[d] may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[e] 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And, if he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as an unbeliever or a tax collector. 18 Amen I tell you: Whatever you bind on earth will be[f] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Amen I tell you again: If two of you on earth agree to ask for anything, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. 20 In fact where two or three have gathered together in my name, there I am among them.”
- Matthew 18:6 Or stumble. The Greek skandalizo could mean to stumble into sin or fall from faith.
- Matthew 18:8 Or stumble. The Greek skandalizo could mean to stumble into sin or fall from faith.
- Matthew 18:11 Some witnesses to the text omit verse 11. See Luke 19:10.
- Matthew 18:16 Or word, fact, charge, or statement
- Matthew 18:16 Deuteronomy 19:15
- Matthew 18:18 Or will have been
The Greater Power of God
19 But you, O Lord, do not be distant.
O my Strength, come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver my life from the sword,
my only life from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion.
From the horns of the wild oxen you have answered me.[a]
Part Two: The Messiah’s Glory
The Messiah’s Vow
22 I will declare your name to my brothers.
In the midst of the congregation I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised nor detested the affliction of the afflicted.
He has not hidden his face from him,
but when he cried out to him, he heard.
25 You are the source of my praise in the great congregation.[b]
I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who fear him.
The Glory of Messiah’s Kingdom
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied.
Those who seek him will praise the Lord—
may he live in your hearts forever![c]
27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations will bow down before you.
28 For the kingdom belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will eat and bow down.
All who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.[d]
30 Descendants will serve him.
For generations people will be told about the Lord.
31 They will come and proclaim his righteousness
to a people yet to be born—
because he has done it.
- Psalm 22:21 Or answer me
- Psalm 22:25 This verse may mean that the Son praises the Father in the great congregation (as in verse 22) or that the Father praises the Son in the great congregation. The first option seems to fit the context best.
- Psalm 22:26 Or may your hearts live forever
- Psalm 22:29 The ancient versions read my soul will live for him rather than my soul will not live.
Encouragement to Faithfulness in Marriage
15 Drink water from your own cistern.
Drink running water from your own well.
16 Why should the water from your springs flow out into the street,
your streams of water into the public squares?
17 They should be yours, yours alone.
They are not for strangers to share with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed.
Obtain your joy from the wife you married in your youth,
19 who is a loving doe and a graceful deer.
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times.
Always be intoxicated with her love.
20 Why should you be led astray, my son, by an immoral woman?
Why embrace a woman who is not your wife?
21 For the ways of a man are in front of the eyes of the Lord,
and he weighs all of his paths.