31One day while Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, he led the flock across the desert and came to Sinai, the holy mountain. 2
There the angel of the LORD appeared to him as a flame coming from the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire but that it was not burning up. 3“This is strange,” he thought. “Why isn't the bush burning up? I will go closer and see.”
4When the LORD saw that Moses was coming closer, he called to him from the middle of the bush and said, “Moses! Moses!”
He answered, “Yes, here I am.”
5God said, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground. 6I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” So Moses covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7Then the LORD said, “I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave-drivers. I know all about their sufferings, 8and so I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them out of Egypt to a spacious land, one which is rich and fertile and in which the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites now live. 9I have indeed heard the cry of my people, and I see how the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country.”
11But Moses said to God, “I am nobody. How can I go to the king and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12God answered, “I will be with you, and when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will worship me on this mountain. That will be the proof that I have sent you.”
But Moses replied, “When I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ So what can I tell them?”
God said, “I am who I am. This is what you must say to them: ‘The one who is called I AM3.14 I am who I am… I AM; or I will be who I will be… I WILL BE. “I am” sounds like the Hebrew name Yahweh, traditionally transliterated as Jehovah. This name is represented in this translation by “the LORD” in capital letters, following a usage which is widespread in English versions. has sent me to you.’ 15Tell the Israelites that I, the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, have sent you to them. This is my name for ever; this is what all future generations are to call me. 16Go and gather the leaders of Israel together and tell them that I, the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to you. Tell them that I have come to them and have seen what the Egyptians are doing to them. 17I have decided that I will bring them out of Egypt, where they are being treated cruelly, and will take them to a rich and fertile land — the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
18“My people will listen to what you say to them. Then you must go with the leaders of Israel to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has revealed himself to us. Now allow us to travel for three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD, our God.’ 19I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is forced to do so. 20But I will use my power and will punish Egypt by doing terrifying things there. After that he will let you go.
“I will make the Egyptians respect you so that when my people leave, they will not go empty-handed. 22Every Israelite woman will go to her Egyptian neighbours and to any Egyptian woman living in her house and will ask for clothing and for gold and silver jewellery. The Israelites will put these things on their sons and daughters and carry away the wealth of the Egyptians.”
41Then Moses answered the LORD, “But suppose the Israelites do not believe me and will not listen to what I say. What shall I do if they say that you did not appear to me?”
2So the LORD asked him, “What are you holding?”
“A stick,” he answered.
3The LORD said, “Throw it on the ground.” When Moses threw it down, it turned into a snake, and he ran away from it. 4Then the LORD said to Moses, “Bend down and pick it up by the tail.” So Moses bent down and caught it, and it became a stick again. 5The LORD said, “Do this to prove to the Israelites that the LORD, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to you.”
6The LORD spoke to Moses again, “Put your hand inside your robe.” Moses obeyed; and when he took his hand out, it was diseased, covered with white spots, like snow. 7Then the LORD said, “Put your hand inside your robe again.” He did so, and when he took it out this time, it was healthy, just like the rest of his body. 8The LORD said, “If they will not believe you or be convinced by the first miracle, then this one will convince them. 9If in spite of these two miracles they still will not believe you, and if they refuse to listen to what you say, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the ground. The water will turn into blood.”
10But Moses said, “No, LORD, don't send me. I have never been a good speaker, and I haven't become one since you began to speak to me. I am a poor speaker, slow and hesitant.”
11The LORD said to him, “Who gives man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? It is I, the LORD. 12Now, go! I will help you to speak, and I will tell you what to say.”
13But Moses answered, “No, Lord, please send someone else.”
14At this the LORD became angry with Moses and said, “What about your brother Aaron, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. In fact, he is now coming to meet you and will be glad to see you. 15You can speak to him and tell him what to say. I will help both of you to speak, and I will tell you both what to do. 16He will be your spokesman and speak to the people for you. Then you will be like God, telling him what to say. 17Take this stick with you; for with it you will perform miracles.”
18Then Moses went back to Jethro, his father-in-law, and said to him, “Please let me go back to my relatives in Egypt to see if they are still alive.” Jethro agreed and said goodbye to him.
19While Moses was still in Midian, the LORD said to him, “Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20So Moses took his wife and his sons, put them on a donkey, and set out with them for Egypt, carrying the stick that God had told him to take.
21Again the LORD said to Moses, “Now that you are going back to Egypt, be sure to perform before the king all the miracles which I have given you the power to do. But I will make the king stubborn, and he will not let the people go. 22Then you must tell him that I, the LORD, say, ‘Israel is my firstborn son. 23
I told you to let my son go, so that he might worship me, but you refused. Now I am going to kill your firstborn son.’ ”
24At a camping place on the way to Egypt, the LORD met Moses and tried to kill him. 25-26Then Zipporah, his wife, took a sharp stone, cut off the foreskin of her son, and touched Moses' feet4.25–26 feet: This reference to “feet” is thought by some to be a euphemism for the genitals. with it. Because of the rite of circumcision she said to Moses, “You are a husband of blood to me.” And so the LORD spared Moses' life.
27Meanwhile the LORD had said to Aaron, “Go into the desert to meet Moses.” So he went to meet him at the holy mountain; and when he met him, he kissed him. 28Then Moses told Aaron everything that the LORD had said when he told him to return to Egypt; he also told him about the miracles which the LORD had ordered him to perform. 29So Moses and Aaron went to Egypt and gathered all the Israelite leaders together. 30Aaron told them everything that the LORD had said to Moses, and then Moses performed all the miracles in front of the people. 31They believed, and when they heard that the LORD had come to them and had seen how they were being treated cruelly, they bowed down and worshipped.
51Then Moses and Aaron went to the king of Egypt and said, “The LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘Let my people go, so that they can hold a festival in the desert to honour me.’ ”
2“Who is the LORD?” the king demanded. “Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD; and I will not let Israel go.”
3Moses and Aaron replied, “The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us. Allow us to travel for three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God. If we don't do so, he will kill us with disease or by war.”
4The king said to Moses and Aaron, “What do you mean by making the people neglect their work? Get those slaves back to work! 5You people have become more numerous than the Egyptians. And now you want to stop working!”
6That same day the king commanded the Egyptian slave-drivers and the Israelite foremen: 7“Stop giving the people straw for making bricks. Make them go and find it for themselves. 8But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before, not one brick less. They haven't enough work to do, and that is why they keep asking me to let them go and offer sacrifices to their God! 9Make these people work harder and keep them busy, so that they won't have time to listen to a pack of lies.”
10The slave-drivers and the Israelite foremen went out and said to the Israelites, “The king has said that he will not supply you with any more straw. 11He says that you must go and get it for yourselves wherever you can find it, but you must still make the same number of bricks.” 12So the people went all over Egypt looking for straw. 13The slave-drivers kept trying to force them to make the same number of bricks every day as they had made when they were given straw. 14The Egyptian slave-drivers beat the Israelite foremen, whom they had put in charge of the work. They demanded, “Why aren't you people making the same number of bricks as you made before?”
15Then the foremen went to the king and complained, “Why do you do this to us, Your Majesty? 16We are given no straw, but we are still ordered to make bricks! And now we are being beaten. It is your people that are at fault.”
17The king answered, “You are lazy and don't want to work, and that is why you ask me to let you go and offer sacrifices to the LORD. 18Now get back to work! You will not be given any straw, but you must still make the same number of bricks.” 19The foremen realized that they were in trouble when they were told that they had to make the same number of bricks every day as they had made before.
20As they were leaving, they met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them. 21They said to Moses and Aaron, “The LORD has seen what you have done and will punish you for making the king and his officers hate us. You have given them an excuse to kill us.”
22Then Moses turned to the LORD again and said, “Lord, why do you ill-treat your people? Why did you send me here? 23Ever since I went to the king to speak for you, he has treated them cruelly. And you have done nothing to help them!”