verse 10: Moses is so eloquent in his denial of words. It is almost as if he is stuttering in Hebrew. He can't get the words out without the help of the guttural גם. You can hear his awkwardness in the music of verse 10. He even touches on Yahweh's initial word to him. But the hint of anger only comes as a response to verse 13. Is this a sort of teen-aged "Whatever"? Even the most gifted of children can be reluctant.
But Moses goes and in verse 21 we have the anticipation of the resolute heart that is in the ruler of Egypt to refuse to send out the people. (Discussion of send here, of hard here)
The key to the analogy is that we are owned by Egypt, and Egypt is instructed to send us out of its land. We do not belong to Egypt. But Egypt will fight tooth and nail to hold us. Even when we are dismissed, expelled, and gone, Egypt will continue to come after what it has lost even to its own destruction. You can say Egypt is 'the world' as long as you remember that the analogy is relative. Egypt is also loved and legitimately. It needs release from itself also. We are Egypt and we are Pharaoh. There is no easy division of ourselves from both sides of the enigma. This comes back to the problem of inclusion / exclusion. As long as we are the arbiters of exclusion or inclusion, we will fail to see our own troubling character. But that we should escape (be expelled, sent away) and begin the process of learning who we are and the nature of the promise, that is good. Yet too, the promise is effected from the beginning. Hence the language of Passover (and Easter). This is neither fatalism nor religion, but a difficult aspect of responsibility and faithfulness. Like death, this story has its role in the bootstrap of humanity.The combination אנכי חרג I can only find here in this verse. It is an immediate action promise expressed as an active participle.
Even Moses must die, must get out of his uncircumcised Egypt, must be in that covenant of micro-death. So Yahweh seeks to put Moses to death as the story tells us in this chapter. His wife knows this. If it were not for Zippora, there would have been no exodus, no Torah, no 10 words. No one said the rock was sharp, but one could assume so given its application.
It's story, folks, but like all good story, it is perceptive, it will undermine your assumptions, and it has staying power.
|וַיַּ֤עַן מֹשֶׁה֙ וַיֹּ֔אמֶר וְהֵן֙ לֹֽא־יַאֲמִ֣ינוּ לִ֔י וְלֹ֥א יִשְׁמְע֖וּ בְּקֹלִ֑י |
כִּ֣י יֹֽאמְר֔וּ לֹֽא־נִרְאָ֥ה אֵלֶ֖יךָ יְהוָֽה
|1||And Moses answered and he said, But lo, they will not believe me, and they will not hear my voice, |
for they will say, Yahweh has not appeared to you.
|וַיֹּ֧אמֶר אֵלָ֛יו יְהוָ֖ה מַה־זֶּ֣ה בְיָדֶ֑ךָ |
|2||And Yahweh said to him, What is this in your hand? |
And he said, A rod.
|וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הַשְׁלִיכֵ֣הוּ אַ֔רְצָה וַיַּשְׁלִיכֵ֥הוּ אַ֖רְצָה וַיְהִ֣י לְנָחָ֑שׁ |
וַיָּ֥נָס מֹשֶׁ֖ה מִפָּנָֽיו
|3||And he said, Fling it earthward, and he flung it earthward and it became a snake. |
And Moses withdrew before it.
|וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה שְׁלַח֙ יָֽדְךָ֔ וֶאֱחֹ֖ז בִּזְנָב֑וֹ |
וַיִּשְׁלַ֤ח יָדוֹ֙ וַיַּ֣חֲזֶק בּ֔וֹ וַיְהִ֥י לְמַטֶּ֖ה בְּכַפּֽוֹ
|4||And Yahweh said to Moses, Extend your hand and grasp it by its tail. |
And he extended his hand and he held it resolutely, and it became a rod in his palm.
|לְמַ֣עַן יַאֲמִ֔ינוּ כִּֽי־נִרְאָ֥ה אֵלֶ֛יךָ יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י אֲבֹתָ֑ם |
אֱלֹהֵ֧י אַבְרָהָ֛ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִצְחָ֖ק וֵאלֹהֵ֥י יַעֲקֹֽב
|5||In order that they may believe that Yahweh the God of their ancestors has appeared to you, |
the God of Abraham, the God of Yitschaq, and the God of Jacob.
|וַיֹּאמֶר֩ יְהוָ֨ה ל֜וֹ ע֗וֹד הָֽבֵא־נָ֤א יָֽדְךָ֙ בְּחֵיקֶ֔ךָ וַיָּבֵ֥א יָד֖וֹ בְּחֵיק֑וֹ |
וַיּ֣וֹצִאָ֔הּ וְהִנֵּ֥ה יָד֖וֹ מְצֹרַ֥עַת כַּשָּֽׁלֶג
|6||And Yahweh said to him further, Bring if you will your hand to your bosom. And he brought his hand to his bosom. |
and he brought it out, and behold, his hand was leprous as snow.
|וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הָשֵׁ֤ב יָֽדְךָ֙ אֶל־חֵיקֶ֔ךָ וַיָּ֥שֶׁב יָד֖וֹ אֶל־חֵיק֑וֹ |
וַיּֽוֹצִאָהּ֙ מֵֽחֵיק֔וֹ וְהִנֵּה־שָׁ֖בָה כִּבְשָׂרֽוֹ
|7||And he said, Return your hand to your bosom. And he returned his hand to his bosom, |
and he brought it out from his bosom, and, behold, it returned as his own flesh.
|וְהָיָה֙ אִם־לֹ֣א יַאֲמִ֣ינוּ לָ֔ךְ וְלֹ֣א יִשְׁמְע֔וּ לְקֹ֖ל הָאֹ֣ת הָרִאשׁ֑וֹן |
וְהֶֽאֱמִ֔ינוּ לְקֹ֖ל הָאֹ֥ת הָאַחֲרֽוֹן
|8||But it will be if they do not believe you and they do not hear the voice of the first sign, |
then they will believe the voice of the latter sign.
|וְהָיָ֡ה אִם־לֹ֣א יַאֲמִ֡ינוּ גַּם֩ לִשְׁנֵ֨י הָאֹת֜וֹת הָאֵ֗לֶּה וְלֹ֤א יִשְׁמְעוּן֙ לְקֹלֶ֔ךָ וְלָקַחְתָּ֙ מִמֵּימֵ֣י הַיְאֹ֔ר וְשָׁפַכְתָּ֖ הַיַּבָּשָׁ֑ה |
וְהָי֤וּ הַמַּ֙יִם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּקַּ֣ח מִן־הַיְאֹ֔ר וְהָי֥וּ לְדָ֖ם בַּיַּבָּֽשֶׁת
|9||But it will be if they do not believe even the second of these signs and they do not hear your voice, then you will take from the waters of the Nile and pour them out on the dry land, |
and they will become, the waters that you will take from the Nile, and they will become blood in the dry land.
|וַיֹּ֨אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֣ה אֶל־יְהוָה֮ בִּ֣י אֲדֹנָי֒ לֹא֩ אִ֨ישׁ דְּבָרִ֜ים אָנֹ֗כִי גַּ֤ם מִתְּמוֹל֙ גַּ֣ם מִשִּׁלְשֹׁ֔ם גַּ֛ם מֵאָ֥ז דַּבֶּרְךָ אֶל־עַבְדֶּ֑ךָ |
כִּ֧י כְבַד־פֶּ֛ה וּכְבַ֥ד לָשׁ֖וֹן אָנֹֽכִי
|10||And Moses said to Yahweh, O my Lord, not a man of words am I. Even recently, even the day before yesterday, even since your word to your servant, |
for heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue am I.
|וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֵלָ֗יו מִ֣י שָׂ֣ם פֶּה֮ לָֽאָדָם֒ א֚וֹ מִֽי־יָשׂ֣וּם אִלֵּ֔ם א֣וֹ חֵרֵ֔שׁ א֥וֹ פִקֵּ֖חַ א֣וֹ עִוֵּ֑ר |
הֲלֹ֥א אָנֹכִ֖י יְהוָֽה
|11||And Yahweh said to him, Who sets up the mouth for a human? Or who defines dumb or deaf or gives sight or blindness? |
Is it not I, Yahweh?
|וְעַתָּ֖ה לֵ֑ךְ |
וְאָנֹכִי֙ אֶֽהְיֶ֣ה עִם־פִּ֔יךָ וְהוֹרֵיתִ֖יךָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר תְּדַבֵּֽר
|12||So now, go, |
and I, I will be with your mouth, and I will instruct you that you may speak.
|וַיֹּ֖אמֶר בִּ֣י אֲדֹנָ֑י |
|13||And he said, |
O my Lord, send, if you will, in the hand you send.
|וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֨ף יְהוָ֜ה בְּמֹשֶׁ֗ה וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הֲלֹ֨א אַהֲרֹ֤ן אָחִ֙יךָ֙ הַלֵּוִ֔י יָדַ֕עְתִּי כִּֽי־דַבֵּ֥ר יְדַבֵּ֖ר ה֑וּא |
וְגַ֤ם הִנֵּה־הוּא֙ יֹצֵ֣א לִקְרָאתֶ֔ךָ וְרָאֲךָ֖ וְשָׂמַ֥ח בְּלִבּֽוֹ
|14||And the anger of Yahweh burned against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he will speak a word, |
and moreover behold, he has come out himself to call you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
|וְדִבַּרְתָּ֣ אֵלָ֔יו וְשַׂמְתָּ֥ אֶת־הַדְּבָרִ֖ים בְּפִ֑יו |
וְאָנֹכִ֗י אֶֽהְיֶ֤ה עִם־פִּ֙יךָ֙ וְעִם־פִּ֔יהוּ וְהוֹרֵיתִ֣י אֶתְכֶ֔ם אֵ֖ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר תַּעֲשֽׂוּן
|15||And you will speak to him, and you will put words in his mouth. |
And I, I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will instruct you what you will do.
|וְדִבֶּר־ה֥וּא לְךָ֖ אֶל־הָעָ֑ם |
וְהָ֤יָה הוּא֙ יִֽהְיֶה־לְּךָ֣ לְפֶ֔ה וְאַתָּ֖ה תִּֽהְיֶה־לּ֥וֹ לֵֽאלֹהִֽים
|16||And he will speak for you to the people. |
And he is, he, he will be for you as mouth, and you, you will be for him as God.
|וְאֶת־הַמַּטֶּ֥ה הַזֶּ֖ה תִּקַּ֣ח בְּיָדֶ֑ךָ |
אֲשֶׁ֥ר תַּעֲשֶׂה־בּ֖וֹ אֶת־הָאֹתֹֽת
|17||And this rod you will take in your hand, |
that with it you may do the signs.
|וַיֵּ֨לֶךְ מֹשֶׁ֜ה וַיָּ֣שָׁב ׀ אֶל־יֶ֣תֶר חֹֽתְנ֗וֹ וַיֹּ֤אמֶר לוֹ֙ אֵ֣לְכָה נָּ֗א וְאָשׁ֙וּבָה֙ אֶל־אַחַ֣י אֲשֶׁר־בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם וְאֶרְאֶ֖ה הַעוֹדָ֣ם חַיִּ֑ים |
וַיֹּ֧אמֶר יִתְר֛וֹ לְמֹשֶׁ֖ה לֵ֥ךְ לְשָׁלֽוֹם
|18||And Moses went and returned to Jethro, his father-in-law, saying to him, Let me go please that I may return to my kin that are in Egypt and I will see if they are still alive. |
And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace.
|וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֤ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה֙ בְּמִדְיָ֔ן לֵ֖ךְ שֻׁ֣ב מִצְרָ֑יִם |
כִּי־מֵ֙תוּ֙ כָּל־הָ֣אֲנָשִׁ֔ים הַֽמְבַקְשִׁ֖ים אֶת־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ
|19||And Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, Go. Return to Egypt, |
for dead are all the persons who were seeking your being.
|וַיִּקַּ֨ח מֹשֶׁ֜ה אֶת־אִשְׁתּ֣וֹ וְאֶת־בָּנָ֗יו וַיַּרְכִּבֵם֙ עַֽל־הַחֲמֹ֔ר וַיָּ֖שָׁב אַ֣רְצָה מִצְרָ֑יִם |
וַיִּקַּ֥ח מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶת־מַטֵּ֥ה הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים בְּיָדֽוֹ
|20||And Moses took his wife and his children, and had them ride on the ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt. |
And Moses took the rod of God in his hand.
|וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָה֮ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה֒ בְּלֶכְתְּךָ֙ לָשׁ֣וּב מִצְרַ֔יְמָה רְאֵ֗ה כָּל־הַמֹּֽפְתִים֙ אֲשֶׁר־שַׂ֣מְתִּי בְיָדֶ֔ךָ וַעֲשִׂיתָ֖ם לִפְנֵ֣י פַרְעֹ֑ה |
וַאֲנִי֙ אֲחַזֵּ֣ק אֶת־לִבּ֔וֹ וְלֹ֥א יְשַׁלַּ֖ח אֶת־הָעָֽם
|21||And Yahweh said to Moses, When you go to return to Egypt, see all the miracles that I set in your hand, and you will do them before Pharaoh. |
And I, I will make his heart resolute and he will not send the people out.
|וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה |
כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה בְּנִ֥י בְכֹרִ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
|22||Then you will say to Pharaoh, |
Thus says Yahweh, My child, my firstborn, is Israel.
|וָאֹמַ֣ר אֵלֶ֗יךָ שַׁלַּ֤ח אֶת־בְּנִי֙ וְיַֽעַבְדֵ֔נִי וַתְּמָאֵ֖ן לְשַׁלְּח֑וֹ |
הִנֵּה֙ אָנֹכִ֣י הֹרֵ֔ג אֶת־בִּנְךָ֖ בְּכֹרֶֽךָ
|23||And I say to you, Send out my child that they may serve me, and if you are unwilling to send them, |
behold, I am slaying your child, your firstborn.
|וַיְהִ֥י בַדֶּ֖רֶךְ בַּמָּל֑וֹן |
וַיִּפְגְּשֵׁ֣הוּ יְהוָ֔ה וַיְבַקֵּ֖שׁ הֲמִיתֽוֹ
|24||And it happened in the way at the stop over, |
that Yahweh met him, and he sought to put him to death.
|וַתִּקַּ֨ח צִפֹּרָ֜ה צֹ֗ר וַתִּכְרֹת֙ אֶת־עָרְלַ֣ת בְּנָ֔הּ וַתַּגַּ֖ע לְרַגְלָ֑יו |
וַתֹּ֕אמֶר כִּ֧י חֲתַן־דָּמִ֛ים אַתָּ֖ה לִֽי
|25||And Zipporah took a rock and she cut the foreskin of her child, and touched his feet, |
and she said, Because you are a bridegroom of blood for me.
|וַיִּ֖רֶף מִמֶּ֑נּוּ |
אָ֚ז אָֽמְרָ֔ה חֲתַ֥ן דָּמִ֖ים לַמּוּלֹֽת
|26||And she desisted from him. |
Then she said, A bridegroom of blood, for the circumcision.
|וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן לֵ֛ךְ לִקְרַ֥את מֹשֶׁ֖ה הַמִּדְבָּ֑רָה |
וַיֵּ֗לֶךְ וַֽיִּפְגְּשֵׁ֛הוּ בְּהַ֥ר הָאֱלֹהִ֖ים וַיִּשַּׁק־לֽוֹ
|27||And Yahweh said to Aaron, Go to encounter Moses towards the wilderness, |
and he went and met him on the hill of the gods and kissed him.
|וַיַּגֵּ֤ד מֹשֶׁה֙ לְאַֽהֲרֹ֔ן אֵ֛ת כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֥י יְהוָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר שְׁלָח֑וֹ |
וְאֵ֥ת כָּל־הָאֹתֹ֖ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוָּֽהוּ
|28||And Moses made clear for Aaron all the words of Yahweh who sent him, |
and all the signs that he had commanded him.
|וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ מֹשֶׁ֖ה וְאַהֲרֹ֑ן |
וַיַּ֣אַסְפ֔וּ אֶת־כָּל־זִקְנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
|29||And Moses and Aaron went, |
and gathered all the elders of the children of Israel.
|וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אַהֲרֹ֔ן אֵ֚ת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה |
וַיַּ֥עַשׂ הָאֹתֹ֖ת לְעֵינֵ֥י הָעָֽם
|30||And Aaron spoke all the things that Yahweh had spoken to Moses, |
and he did the signs in the sight of the people.
|וַֽיַּאֲמֵ֖ן הָעָ֑ם |
וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֡וּ כִּֽי־פָקַ֨ד יְהוָ֜ה אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וְכִ֤י רָאָה֙ אֶת־עָנְיָ֔ם וַֽיִּקְּד֖וּ וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוּֽוּ
|31||And the people believed, |
when they heard that Yahweh had visited the children of Israel, and that he saw their affliction, they bowed their head and they worshiped.