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Exodus 4:14-16

Context

4:14 Then the Lord became angry with 1  Moses, and he said, “What about 2  your brother Aaron the Levite? 3  I know that he can speak very well. 4  Moreover, he is coming 5  to meet you, and when he sees you he will be glad in his heart. 6 

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 7  and with his mouth, 8  and I will teach you both 9  what you must do. 10  4:16 He 11  will speak for you to the people, and it will be as if 12  he 13  were your mouth 14  and as if you were his God. 15 

Exodus 4:27-31

Context

4:27 The Lord said 16  to Aaron, “Go to the wilderness to meet Moses. So he went and met him at the mountain of God 17  and greeted him with a kiss. 18  4:28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had 19  sent him and all the signs that he had commanded him. 4:29 Then Moses and Aaron went and brought together all the Israelite elders. 20  4:30 Aaron spoke 21  all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people, 4:31 and the people believed. When they heard 22  that the Lord had attended to 23  the Israelites and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed down close to the ground. 24 

1 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).

2 tn Heb “Is not” or perhaps “Is [there] not.”

3 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.

4 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!

5 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.”

6 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).

7 tn Or “I will help you speak.” The independent pronoun puts emphasis (“as for me”) on the subject (“I”).

8 tn Or “and will help him speak.”

9 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.

10 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.”

11 tn The word “he” represents the Hebrew independent pronoun, which makes the subject emphatic.

12 tn The phrase “as if” is supplied for clarity.

13 tn Heb “and it will be [that] he, he will be to you for a mouth,” or more simply, “he will be your mouth.”

14 tn Heb “he will be to you for a mouth.”

15 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.

16 tn Heb “And Yahweh said.”

17 tn S. R. Driver considers that this verse is a continuation of vv. 17 and 18 and that Aaron met Moses before Moses started back to Egypt (Exodus, 33). The first verb, then, might have the nuance of a past perfect: Yahweh had said.

18 tn Heb “and kissed him.”

19 tn This verb and the last one in the verse are rendered with the past perfect nuance because they refer to what the Lord had done prior to Moses’ telling Aaron.

20 sn These are the leaders of the tribes who represented all the people. Later, after the exodus, Moses will select the most capable of them and others to be rulers in a judicial sense (Exod 18:21).

21 tn Heb “And Aaron spoke.”

22 tc The LXX (Greek OT) has “and they rejoiced,” probably reading וַיִּשְׂמְחוּ (vayyismÿkhu) instead of what the MT reading, וַיִּשְׂמְעוּ (vayyismÿu, “and they heard”). To rejoice would have seemed a natural response of the people at the news, and the words sound similar in Hebrew.

tn The form is the preterite with the vav consecutive, “and they heard.” It clearly is a temporal clause subordinate to the following verbs that report how they bowed and worshiped. But it is also in sequence to the preceding: they believed, and then they bowed when they heard.

23 tn Or “intervened for.” The word פָּקַד (paqad) has traditionally been translated “visited,” which is open to many interpretations. It means that God intervened in the life of the Israelites to bless them with the fulfillment of the promises. It says more than that he took notice of them, took pity on them, or remembered them. He had not yet fulfilled the promises, but he had begun to act by calling Moses and Aaron. The translation “attended to” attempts to capture that much.

24 tn The verb וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ (vayyishtakhavu) is usually rendered “worshiped.” More specifically, the verbal root חָוָה (khava) in the hishtaphel stem means “to cause oneself to be low to the ground.” While there is nothing wrong with giving it a general translation of “worship,” it may be better in a passage like this to take it in conjunction with the other verb (“bow”) as a verbal hendiadys, using it as an adverb to that verb. The implication is certainly that they prayed, or praised, and performed some other aspect of worship, but the text may just be describing it from their posture of worship. With this response, all the fears of Moses are swept aside – they believed and they were thankful to God.



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