4:14 Then the Lord became angry with 4 Moses, and he said, “What about 5 your brother Aaron the Levite? 6 I know that he can speak very well. 7 Moreover, he is coming 8 to meet you, and when he sees you he will be glad in his heart. 9
4:15 “So you are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And as for me, I will be with your mouth 10 and with his mouth, 11 and I will teach you both 12 what you must do. 13 4:16 He 14 will speak for you to the people, and it will be as if 15 he 16 were your mouth 17 and as if you were his God. 18 4:17 You will also take in your hand this staff, with which you will do the signs.” 19
1 tn Heb “And he said”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
2 tn The word בִּי (bi) is a particle of entreaty; it seeks permission to speak and is always followed by “Lord” or “my Lord.”
3 tn The text has simply שְׁלַח־נָא בְּיַד־תִּשְׁלָח (shÿlakh-na’ bÿyad tishlakh, “send by the hand you will send”). This is not Moses’ resignation to doing God’s will – it is his final attempt to avoid the call. It carries the force of asking God to send someone else. This is an example of an independent relative clause governed by the genitive: “by the hand of – whomever you will send” (see GKC 488-89 §155.n).
4 tn Heb “and the anger of Yahweh burned against.”
sn Moses had not dared openly to say “except me” when he asked God to send whomever he wanted to send. But God knew that is what he meant. Moses should not have resisted the call or pleaded such excuses or hesitated with such weak faith. Now God abandoned the gentle answer and in anger brought in a form of retribution. Because Moses did not want to do this, he was punished by not having the honor of doing it alone. His reluctance and the result are like the refusal of Israel to enter the land and the result they experienced (see U. Cassuto, Exodus, 49-50).
5 tn Heb “Is not” or perhaps “Is [there] not.”
6 sn S. R. Driver (Exodus, 29) suggests that the term “Levite” may refer to a profession rather than ancestry here, because both Moses and Aaron were from the tribe of Levi and there would be little point in noting that ancestry for Aaron. In thinking through the difficult problem of the identity of Levites, he cites McNeile as saying “the Levite” referred to one who had had official training as a priest (cf. Judg 17:7, where a member of the tribe of Judah was a Levite). If it was the duty of the priest to give “torah” – to teach – then some training in the power of language would have been in order.
7 tn The construction uses the Piel infinitive absolute and the Piel imperfect to express the idea that he spoke very well: דַבֵּר יְדַבֵּר (dabber yÿdabber).
sn Now Yahweh, in condescending to Moses, selects something that Moses (and God) did not really need for the work. It is as if he were saying: “If Moses feels speaking ability is so necessary (rather than the divine presence), then that is what he will have.” Of course, this golden-tongued Aaron had some smooth words about how the golden calf was forged!
8 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) with the participle points to the imminent future; it means “he is about to come” or “here he is coming.”
9 sn It is unlikely that this simply means that as a brother he will be pleased to see Moses, for the narrative has no time for that kind of comment. It is interested in more significant things. The implication is that Aaron will rejoice because of the revelation of God to Moses and the plan to deliver Israel from bondage (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 93).
10 tn Or “I will help you speak.” The independent pronoun puts emphasis (“as for me”) on the subject (“I”).
11 tn Or “and will help him speak.”
12 tn The word “both” is supplied to convey that this object (“you”) and the subject of the next verb (“you must do”) are plural in the Hebrew text, referring to Moses and Aaron. In 4:16 “you” returns to being singular in reference to Moses.
13 tn The imperfect tense carries the obligatory nuance here as well. The relative pronoun with this verb forms a noun clause functioning as the direct object of “I will teach.”
14 tn The word “he” represents the Hebrew independent pronoun, which makes the subject emphatic.
15 tn The phrase “as if” is supplied for clarity.
16 tn Heb “and it will be [that] he, he will be to you for a mouth,” or more simply, “he will be your mouth.”
17 tn Heb “he will be to you for a mouth.”
18 tn The phrase “as if” is supplied for clarity. The word “you” represents the Hebrew independent pronoun, which makes the subject emphatic.
sn Moses will be like God to Aaron, giving him the words to say, inspiring him as God would inspire a prophet. The whole process had now been removed one step. Instead of God speaking to Moses and Moses telling the people, Aaron would be the speaker for a while. But God was still going to work through Moses.
19 sn Mention of the staff makes an appropriate ending to the section, for God’s power (represented by the staff) will work through Moses. The applicable point that this whole section is making could be worded this way: The servants of God who sense their inadequacy must demonstrate the power of God as their sufficiency.