Exodus 4:10-16

10 Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, 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.”
11 The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
14 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 he will be glad to see you.
15 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.
16 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.

Exodus 4:10 in Other Translations

KJV
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.
ESV
10 But Moses said to the LORD, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue."
NLT
10 But Moses pleaded with the LORD, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
MSG
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."
CSB
10 But Moses replied to the Lord, "Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent-either in the past or recently or since You have been speaking to Your servant-because I am slow and hesitant in speech."

Exodus 4:10-16 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 4

This chapter is a continuation of the discourse that passed between God and Moses; and here Moses makes other objections to his mission; 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, Ex 4:1-9, 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, Ex 4:10-17 upon which he 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, Ex 4:18-20 at which time he received some fresh instructions from the Lord what he should do before Pharaoh, and what he should say unto him, Ex 4:21-23 then follows an account of what befell him by the way, because of the circumcision of his son, Ex 4:24-26 and 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, Ex 4:27-31.

Exodus 4:10-16 In-Context

8 Then the LORD said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second.
9 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.”
10 Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, 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.”
11 The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
14 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 he will be glad to see you.
15 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.
16 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.
17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”
18 Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Let me return to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.” Jethro said, “Go, and I wish you well.”

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Cross References 11

  • 1. S Exodus 3:11; Exodus 6:12; Jeremiah 1:6
  • 2. Luke 1:20,64
  • 3. Psalms 94:9; Psalms 146:8; Matthew 11:5; John 10:21
  • 4. S Exodus 3:10
  • 5. ver 15-16; Numbers 23:5; Deuteronomy 18:15,18; Isaiah 50:4; Isaiah 51:16; Jeremiah 1:9; Matthew 10:19-20; Mark 13:11; S Luke 12:12; Luke 21:14-15
  • 6. John 1:1-3
  • 7. Nu 11:1,10,33; Numbers 12:9; Numbers 16:15; Numbers 22:22; Numbers 24:10; Numbers 32:13; Deuteronomy 7:25; Joshua 7:1; Job 17:8
  • 8. ver 27; 1 Samuel 10:2-5
  • 9. ver 30; Nu 23:5,12,16; Deuteronomy 18:18; Joshua 1:8; Isaiah 51:16; Isaiah 59:21; Jeremiah 1:9; Jeremiah 31:33
  • 10. Exodus 7:1-2; Jeremiah 15:19; Jeremiah 36:6
  • 11. Numbers 33:1; Psalms 77:20; Psalms 105:26; Micah 6:4
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