Then the LORD said, "Put your hand inside your cloak." So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was leprous, like snow.
"Now put it back into your cloak," he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.
Then the LORD said, "If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first miraculous sign, they may believe the second.
But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground."
Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."
The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."
But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."
Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you.
You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.
He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.
But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it."
Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, "Let me go back to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive." Jethro said, "Go, and I wish you well."
Now the LORD had said to Moses in Midian, "Go back to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead."
So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.
The LORD said to Moses, "When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.
Then say to Pharaoh, 'This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son,
and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.' "
At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met [Moses] and was about to kill him.
But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched [Moses'] feet with it. "Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me," she said.
So the LORD let him alone. (At that time she said "bridegroom of blood," referring to circumcision.)
The LORD said to Aaron, "Go into the desert to meet Moses." So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him.
Then Moses told Aaron everything the LORD had sent him to say, and also about all the miraculous signs he had commanded him to perform.
Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites,
and Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people,
and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
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 to me in the desert.' "
Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go."
Then they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword."
But the king of Egypt said, "Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!"
Then Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working."
That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people:
"You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw.
But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don't reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'
Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies."
Then the slave drivers and the foremen went out and said to the people, "This is what Pharaoh says: 'I will not give you any more straw.
Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.' "
So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw.
The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, "Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw."
The Israelite foremen appointed by Pharaoh's slave drivers were beaten and were asked, "Why didn't you meet your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?"